Emerging Technologies in Medical Laboratory Science (2017)



lab classes this part of pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Auckland City Hospital and is responsible for processing thousands of samples and specimens every day lab class is being transformed by new technologies that are creating faster more detailed and accurate diagnosis for Auckland's population as the technologies developed the work of the medical laboratory scientists is changing their testing has changed hugely in the last 40 odd years from essentially what was bench manual type analysis to full automated platforms going from only a limited number of tests per day to what can be now many thousands of tests this means that results are more accurate and more precise results in round timers are not quicker and commissions connect a lot quicker or more appropriately by getting these results it also means that scientists to become more specialists as in the new areas in which technology is being developed one area where new technology is having the greatest impact is in the analysis of genetics dramatic leaps in our understanding of chromosomes and DNA has led to an explosion of new possibilities in the fight against cancer and inherited diseases with advent of this technology we're now able to make more diagnosis we have a better hit rate and of course provide a much better care or much better own sort of a management plan for the patients and their families of course lab pluses Molecular Genetics area looks at strands of DNA to discover if illnesses have a genetic cause the human genome the complete send genes in the cell was only decoded or to use its technical term sequence in 2003 but already next-generation sequencing has transformed our ability to treat disease and next-generation sequencing allows sequencing of multiple genes at a time and foundress we can get a much faster diagnosis and we can look at hundreds of genes at a time so it is a much bigger scale and much more efficient yeah we're going to get even more faster and sequencing technology in the future we're probably looking at thousands of genes in one go and we will be looking at the whole genome the whole genome means we'll get information for the entire individual just in a few days and that's extremely powerful to allow us to decipher what's happening within this individual the deciphered genome will not just reveal details about one disease but gives information about multiple conditions and can help tailor the treatment to the patient specific genetic makeup for example some people may have resistant to certain drugs and that can all be explained but by his or her team a so having had that information we do not just kill one disease we can use that information to monitor the patient's house for his or her lifetime and to provide better manner for the future I think you know the future is endless you know with this new technology I think we'll keep progressing the unraveling of the genome and all that entails raises ethical questions for example do you want to know how you might die how would that knowledge of fetch your day-to-day life are we ready to see into our own futures for example you know a risk for breast cancer or your risk for something to develop when you are an adult children parents make decisions for them okay do they need to grow up knowing that they have with a burden they know that they have a risk of given breast cancer in the future I think that's treason why it's very important establish that you know what we do not need to know the infant will join me to know now can be left until when the child is older where they can be involved in the whole consenting process and nicking the on position to decide whether they want to know that information I'm not so it can be seen that the work of a medical lab scientist today is more than blood tests growing cultures and confirmed diseases the work is more challenging and diverse the world that we live in now is very different to even it was in ten years ago with the explosion of Internet and the technology and smartphones I mean most of us I can't imagine a day without our cell phone a smartphone it's the same in every field but more so in the genetics field because now we're in the era of a big data where we got the technology to extract as much genetic information from a person as we can but we need the IT person well think the terminology is bioinformatics implementations to be able to help the scientists to extract those data to be able to answer the questions they're looking for it's all about how you manage the data it's all about how you extract the data that is meaningful and translate it clinically – according to the patient what pressure pressures presents web to generate when such overwhelming amounts of data requires careful management and quality control new jobs are being created for technical specialists but the next generation scientists who move into these exciting new areas can't forget their roots and are still applying the scientific method and their knowledge of laboratory science by implementations are specialized field you have to have understanding of biology and science but you also have to have skills of IT software engineering and data mining so it is a very specialized in some it's definitely the growing field in the future another area undergoing a dramatically changing landscape is microbiology where the battle to keep ahead of constantly evolving pathogens and drug-resistant superbugs is becoming the critical Lucas microbiology is the study of just about any sort of the pathogen that infects humans they can be viruses bacteria fungi and the range of parasites so it's the study of those organisms and how we can diagnose and fiction's of those organisms and people and got a whole range of tools that diagnose those infection laboratory scientists test the cultures of the patients pathogens to see which drugs have the ability to kill it creating a more effective treatment path and reducing the possibility of infections developing drug resistance antibiotic resistance sometimes referred to as superbugs when bugs are particularly resistant is an extremely important issue and is going to be an increasingly important issue over the coming years and decades there's not much in the research and development pipeline and these bugs can develop resistance grew very quickly and they're becoming more prevalent throughout the world and that's spreading quite quickly because of this we need to shift our focus a lot more to actually preventing infections in the first place stopping them happening because their treatment options that becoming more limited and there are a whole range of different tools we have to do this NAD+ is a reference laboratory for New Zealand and the Pacific and has recently built a world-class pc3 laboratory to test and process highly contagious infections and superbugs by antibiotic resistant strains Julis pc3 lab is a laboratory that built a very very exacting sort of specification the Tarlac has certain air changes and and it go through special filters to prevent bacteria escaping into the air and that's for the planck pc3 lab allows us to confidently deal with tuberculosis and in particular what we call extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis which is kind of a I guess the type of super bug if you like that that's becoming more common globally because it's such a dynamic field it's an exciting field to be involved in dynamic typically good spoke the changings but also because new technologies that are coming through and you constantly have to sort of relearn things and change the way you do things and adapt to these changes but I think that can be very positive and exciting science and technological advances are occurring across lab plus in the biochemical genetics section newborn screening tests are being refined if scientists gain the ability to test and treat more genetic diseases biochemical genetics is really the thing that chemical reactions that take part within the cell that break down protein fatty acids from foods and generate energy so it's about generating energy from the cells and when we eat our protein our metabolizer a minor acids and proteins on metabolizer fact that we Eve there was a series of reactions that take place to generate energy and each of those reactions requires an enzyme and in some children and adults those enzymes are not working properly because of genetic defects and we can see those intermediate metabolites build up in the blood and the urine and we can detect them when we do allowed a nationwide baby screening program exists where midwives perform a heel print test to gather blood when the baby is two days old the resulting card is mailed to lab class where it's processed scientists perform a series of tests the screen rare but potentially devastating conditions if some of the diseases particularly ones we've been screening for for a long time have severe neurological outcomes so severe developmental delay and allow the children ends up in institutions these children now get treated early because we pick them up at two days late they get treated early by the clinician and the children can have the same outcome as ordinary children and they can have the same aspirations and the same quality of life as everybody else and well the future with newborn screening will depend on the technology that's available in the future at the moment there's being an increase in genetic testing and we do look at other ways in which we can check our for our current diseases by different technologies to improve our screening program and Android other disease has been added worldwide and we keep a close eye on what's happening around the world and we talk to our colleagues in America and Europe constantly about tick screening tests and technologies that go together and I think the challenge new zealand is to develop julia scientist so that we can continue the rock of generality and that's really what my hope for the future is is that we can bring scientists forward to continue the work that we've done newborn screening is part of an ongoing drive to catch life-threatening conditions early and as technology advances new screening programs for other adverse groups are becoming possible the specialist chemical pathology section has been conducting a pilot scheme to screen for bowel cancer and that screening is gradually being rolled out nationwide the bowel screening pilot scheme and would set up in 2010 and between the way tomato District Health Board ADHD led plus and the Ministry of Health so we can perform tests that differentiate between sort of an irritable bowel syndrome or actual ten of the bowel so it's really good to get that diagnosis because they're two very different diseases that should be treated differently this is a huge benefit for public health and the prognosis for patients with colorectal cancer is greatly improved if caught earlier on the opportunity is presented by this dynamic and changing environment are endless but what are the skills that lab plus are looking for in young scientists wanting to join their team attention to details the important thing being out to work under stress because the times when the samples or the results are wanted quickly you can be pressured on getting me analysis good understanding Vytas very important science you need to understand science you need to understand biology and chemistry has good English skills because you have to communicate to clinicians and some nurses you need to understand what they want all the sort of knowledge analysis they need and also you need to be able to think laterally as well think a little bit outside the square and be able to troubleshoot those are the most important skills

2 Comments

  1. Orlando Te Wheoro said:

    did they all go to AUT?

    June 29, 2019
    Reply
  2. Nick Hurley said:

    Fuck your ethics, shut up and focus on the science. Your drama is poison.

    June 29, 2019
    Reply

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