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HLAB27 and HFE gene tests brought in-house

Testing for HLA-B27 and HFE genes are now being carried out within Microbiology at SWLP, rather than being sent to a reference laboratory.

HLA-B27 is a blood test to look for a protein that is found on the surface of white blood cells and helps to diagnose certain autoimmune diseases. HFE gene testing is a blood test used to check for hereditary haemochromatosis, a disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron.

SWLP has been sending all requests for HLA B27 and HFE gene testing from all our sites to NHSBT referral laboratories. The project to repatriate the tests is to be carried out in two phases. The first phase of the testing of HLA B27 and HFE samples from Croydon, Kingston, RNOH and St George’s Hospitals in-house was completed in March 2024; the second phase will bring samples from Epsom and St Helier Hospitals in-house.

The project is being carried out in phases so as not to overwhelm the team in Microbiology and to give staff the opportunity to become familiar with these new assays. It also reflects the different IT data flow for Epsom and St Helier when compared to the other sites due to the different LIMS.

By bringing the tests in house, the turnaround time for results has shortened and it has reduced costs related to the tests. There is also the potential to further expand our repertoire into other diseases associated with HLA antigen tests.

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