Immunoassays have been used in hospitals, laboratory medicine, and research to improve the health and well-being of humans and animals. Information gained by clinical immunoassay testing has shortened hospital stays and decreased the severity of illness by identifying and assessing the progression of disease, thereby leading to improved therapeutic choices.
Immunoassays are quick and accurate tests that can be used on-site and in the laboratory to detect specific molecules. Immunoassays rely on the inherent ability of an antibody to bind to the specific structure of a molecule. Antibodies are proteins generated by animals in response to the invasion of a foreign molecule (antigen) into the body. Antibodies are found in blood and tissue fluids and will bind to the antigen whenever it is encountered. Because antibodies are developed to the specific three-dimensional structure of an antigen, or analyte, they are highly specific and will bind only to that structure. Once purified from the blood, monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies are ideal assay reagents to detect and monitor specific target molecules with limited interferences from other substances.
Immunoassays may be qualitative (positive or negative) or quantitative (amount measured). An example of a qualitative assay is an immunoassay test for pregnancy. Pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine or serum. Highly purified antibodies can detect pregnancy within two days of fertilization. Quantitative immunoassays are performed by measuring the signal produced by the indicator reaction. This same test for pregnancy can be made into a quantitative assay of hCG by measuring the concentration of product formed.
Premier Lab Solutions has an integrated immunochemistry system, that has the productivity enhancements normally reserved for larger labs. Our system is designed to enhance productivity, the system’s robotic sample handler provides continuous access to both reagents and samples. The system allows customized sample prioritization for consistent turn-around times, processing up to 800 chemistry tests per hour and 100 immunoassay tests per hour (based on individual analyzer throughput). The analyzers produce immunoassay and clinical chemistry results for drugs of abuse, cardiac disease, cancer, endocrinology, fertility, infectious disease, and other conditions, as well as monitoring drugs used in transplant patients.