On July 20, during a press tour to A.F. Tsyba Medical Radiological Scientific Center in Obninsk, the Scientific Russia portal and other invited journalists visited the Clinical Immunology Laboratory with the OncoBioBank group. This is a division of the Laboratory Medicine Department of A.F. Tsyba Medical Radiological Scientific Center. The laboratory is the leader of the Russian healthcare sector in mastering and implementing modern immunological methods of diagnosis and treatment of oncological diseases in today’s practical medicine. 

“The “thrifty laboratory” principle is being followed here. The number of tests performed with one test tube is maximized so that the doctor can make the right decision regarding the treatment strategy for the patient <…> We are saving test tubes and human resources and sparing the patient by drawing less blood for testing,” says Lyudmila Grivtsova, Head of the Laboratory Medicine Department of A.F. Tsyba MRSC, Doctor of Biological Sciences, oncologist-immunologist, clinical lab diagnosis physician.

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The laboratory performs immunological and serological studies, and immunophenotyping (multiparameter flow cytometry) for diagnosing the immunological variant of acute leukemia or peripheral lymphoma. 

Blood serum is stored in special tubes in low-temperature boxes. Sometimes, a more accurate diagnosis is made years later.

Blood serum is stored in special tubes in low-temperature boxes. Sometimes, a more accurate diagnosis is made years later.

 

“Cells are prepared, split and frozen in small tubes in low-temperatures. Freezers providing –80 degrees are for interim storage. For longer storage, cell material is immersed in nitrogen vapor,” Lyudmila Grivtsova explained.

Storage of biological material in special low-temperature freezers 

Storage of biological material in special low-temperature freezers 

 

The Center also has a scientific section – a biobank for samples of biological tissue, blood or tumors provided by patients for research. Those are used to better investigate the disease and to help multiple patients based on thorough research. 

“A biobank means that multiple research projects can be done simultaneously. This is cost-efficient, practical and science intensive,” the speaker concluded.  

A special device helps make the right diagnosis of an oncological disease, monitor its progress and effectiveness of treatment, and register a relapse. 

“We have a special device, Cobas 6000, which is a modular system. It is designed to perform biochemical and immunochemical tests and rare tests which, given our specialization, are performed for cancer patients,” said Natalya Severskaya, Head of the Division of In-Vitro Radionuclide Diagnosis at the A. F. Tsyba MRSC – a branch of the National Medical Research Radiological Center of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation.

The special device Cobas 6000 in the laboratory 

The special device Cobas 6000 in the laboratory 

 

Its capacity is up to 1,000 per hour for the biochemical module, and up to 170 tests per hour – for the immunological one. Patients’ test results are ready within 2 to 3 hours, allowing patients to come back to their doctors with their test results quite soon. 

This article was prepared with the support from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Russian Academy of Sciences.