In autumn 2010, the Clinical Chemistry Dept at the Royal Berkshire Hospital decided to evaluate the Quantum Blue Calprotectin test. The reason was that their Calprotectin requests had grown sufficiently to warrant bringing the test in-house. Dr Tracey Staughton, Clinical Scientist, was responsible for the evaluation of the Quantum Blue system and her lab’s experience with the product is described below.
“Evaluation of Quantum Blue Calprotectin started in October 2010 following attendance at FOCUS 2010 where the Quantum Blue system was exhibited.
Until this point, any Calprotectin requests received from within the hospital were sent to King’s College Hospital, London where results were turned round in approx. 14 days. At this time we were seeing around one sample per month so this service was more than adequate.
During 2009, the number of requests began to rise and during 2010 it was decided that we should look at bringing the test in-house and reconsider its place in our diagnostic pathways based on the lead given by King’s in this area. The Quantum Blue Calprotectin test and reader made this decision easier. It has allowed us to process the samples as they arrive into the department quickly and easily and provided us with results that compared well to those generated at King’s.
Introduction of Quantum Blue into the department has been very easy. Staff like using the system and the extraction step is made as easy and straightforward as it can be using the Smart Prep device also supplied by Alpha Labs and validated for use with the Quantum Blue test.
At the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, we have 4 Consultant Gastroenterologists and all our Calprotectin requests are generated from within the hospital. We do sometimes receive requests from General Practitioners, but these are at the specific request of a member of our Gastroenterology team. We do not currently receive requests from our GP population, but this may change depending upon future funding arrangements. We are also seeing an increased number of requests being generated by the paediatric team. In terms of clinical utility, the test is being used to monitor treatment in our Crohn’s patients and to aid differential diagnosis between irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
In terms of reporting results, we currently use a cut-off level of 60μg/g and do not comment on the results obtained. Clinical interpretation is carried out by the relevant Gastroenterologist. The service provided is currently the subject of an internal Audit exercise and we are awaiting results”.
Using a dedicated reader the Quantum Blue system provides a rapid and quantitative test suitable for a low sample throughput environment. It has a range of 30-300μg/g and is based on lateral flow technology.