Immunology

Immunology is a science that deals with the immune system and the cell-mediated and humoral aspects of immunity and immune responses. We offer an extensive repertoire of investigations which provide evidence for the diagnosis and classification of haematological disorders and process approximately 23,000 test requests per annum. There is a close association with Preston Immunology at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where some of the more unusual tests are sent.

The Haematology Department is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No 8867. The laboratory holds UKAS accreditation to internationally recognised standard ISO 15189:2012.

We offer the following tests on site at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals:

Immunophenotyping

Fluorescently labelled monoclonal antibodies are used to label the cells present in the patient’s blood, marrow, lymph node or fluid samples. These cells are then run through the flow cytometer and data collected on the presence of various antigens which gives information on the cell’s lineage and state of maturation. This can help distinguish various haematological disorders such as leukaemias.

The laboratory is equipped with a Beckman Coulter Navios flow cytometer, which allow the identification of antibody-antigen reactions by identifying light emitted by fluorochromes conjugated to the antibodies used. The pattern of positive and negative reactions provide the Immunophenotype.

Immunology Department

Monitoring CD4 counts

Absolute CD4 counts are used to monitor the progress of HIV positive patients. They are also sometimes requested to assess the immune status of patients. The association of disease progression with the decline in CD4+ T-lymphocytes, the management of HIV infected individuals requires the precise and accurate measurement of this lymphocyte subset.

Stem Cell Harvesting (CD34 Counts)

The Immunology department perform the CD34 counts on blood samples pre stem cell harvest to determine the timing of harvest. This is done for both patients with lymphoma and myeloma so that following chemotherapy the patient’s own stem cells can be given back and allowed to engraft and repopulate the bone marrow.

We also perform a CD34 count on the harvested stem cell collection in order to inform the ward if sufficient stem cells have been collected or if further growth factor is needed. The stem cells are then sent by them to Liverpool BTS for cryopreservation and storage ready for re-infusion.

HLA B27 Antigen Detection

The onset of seronegative spondyloarthropies such as ankolying spondylitits and inflammatory bowel disease are associated with HLA B27 antigen expression on T lymphocytes.

Rheumatoid Factor Testing

The Immunology department runs daily batches of rheumatoid factor assays as a screening test for rheumatoid arthritis using a BN ProSpec System analyser.

Laboratory Location and Working Hours

The Immunology Laboratory is found on the ground floor of the Pathology Department which is located in Area 2 at the end of the main corridor next to East Park Drive Entrance.

Monday-Friday.
Core hours: 9.00am to 5.15pm.