We are fortunate to have Spectrum Health Advanced Technology Laboratories right here in West Michigan. It is very rare to have three specialized laboratories under one roof in a hospital setting. While it can take days to weeks for most hospitals to get results; the advanced technology laboratories can provide results in hours, which can be critical to patient care. That’s why we provide diagnostic testing for health care providers across the country as far as away as California.
As a regional center for testing in molecular diagnostics, flow cytometry and cytogenetics, our highly skilled scientists play a crucial role in patient care. These are the people who discover the presence or absence of disease and provide information that will help physicians determine the best treatment for the patient. We analyze blood, bone marrow, body fluids, tissues and tumors to diagnose diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, down syndrome, HER2neu positive breast cancer, and infectious diseases such as HPV-or Human Papilloma Virus- as well as infections that can cause problems in transplant patients. Our testing helps with both the diagnosis and prognosis of disease.
The flow cytometry lab is the only lab of its kind in West Michigan. Our scientists perform a variety of testing, including diagnostic testing for leukemia and lymphoma as well as immune competency testing. We are able to provide physicians with preliminary results for new leukemia within approximately two to three hours which allows the physician to begin more targeted treatment based upon the specific type of leukemia.
Our cytogenetics lab performs chromosome analysis that includes both cancer-related studies and constitutional studies for prenatal, pediatric and recurrent pregnancy loss. Preliminary oncology results are generally available within 24 hours.
The molecular diagnostics lab performs more than 35,000 tests a year on including cancer studies and infectious disease testing. This lab tests for molecular biomarkers for cancer treatment, human papilloma virus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and more. In addition, this lab provides genetic testing for Huntington’s disease and Cystic Fibrosis.
The advanced technology laboratories are involved in local, national and international testing for clinical trials as well as advanced research. We provide all of the testing for the United States and Canadian sites that are involved in an eight-year study with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. We are also involved in a study focused on finding new therapies for pediatric neuroblastoma, the second most common solid tumor in children with cancer. The Advanced Technology Laboratory developed a test for the ODC1 mutation and is the only lab in the country providing this test for neuroblastoma.
Our scientists are always looking to the future. They have already begun looking at a much quicker and easier way of exploring and diagnosing tumors, including the development of additional targeted panels for specific types of cancer. We are also involved in a revolutionary development and use of cell-free DNA – testing blood for cancer rather than a tumor biopsy.