The Core Laboratory provides a broad array of routine and specialized clinical laboratory testing services available 24 hours/day on peripheral and arterial blood, urine, and other body fluids for patients throughout MD Anderson Cancer Center. A comprehensive selection of routine, high-volume automated chemistry tests as well as therapeutic drug monitoring and blood gas analysis are available employing state-of-the-art instrumentation that includes analytical laboratory automation, computer-assisted specimen storage and location, and automated chemistry workstations. Hematological disorders such as leukemias and lymphomas are assessed utilizing high-volume analyzers as well as manual counting methods. After diagnosis, additional tests may be performed to assess prognosis, progression of the disease and response to treatment. Testing for Coagulation disorders that lead to bleeding or thrombosis is available for both medical and surgical patients throughout MD Anderson.
The expertise of our Core Lab Technologists along with state-of-the-art equipment allows for a comprehensive approach to the diagnosis and interpretation of disease states as detected in the various body fluid specimens analyzed and plays an integral role in meeting the mission of the Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
General Services - Phlebotomy
The Section of General Services includes the specimen collecting service (inpatient and outpatient). All specimen collections for laboratory tests on blood and urine are coordinated by personnel in these areas on a 24/7-hour basis. Specially trained individuals are scheduled to coordinate and perform venous and arterial punctures and collect blood from central venous catheters (CVCs). All staff in the section are responsible for collecting blood for research protocols, which have been approved by the Center Medical Director. The responsibility of the General Services Section is not only to collect specimens on a routine basis but also to ensure consistent phlebotomy quality and to evaluate new specimen collection devices, collection processes, and transport receptacles.
Specimen Processing is one of the first critical pre-analytical steps in laboratory medicine. Here patient samples are checked for proper identification, specimen integrity, and accessioned into laboratory computer system. Specimens are sorted and distributed to the appropriate testing areas. In addition to the trained personnel that handles specimens, our laboratory has an automated system for specimen handling. This system helps us to enhance our turnaround time performance by moving specimens as needed to centrifuges and then onto an automated delivery track. The laboratory operates 24/7. Specimen processing staff also processes, packs and ships a large volume of specimens that are sent to reference laboratories.
The Call Center for Specimen Processing answers all incoming calls inquiring about the status of tests performed in the Core Laboratory along with specimen collection requirements for tests performed in the Division. In addition, the Call Center reports critical value, vital and nursing calls to health care providers on results related to Microbiology, Chemistry and Hematology testing.
Point of Care Testing
Point of Care Testing (POCT) at MD Anderson is diagnostic testing at or near the site of patient care. The purpose of POCT is to bring the test conveniently to the patient and results immediately to the physician and the patient's care team. POCT is accomplished through the use of portable hand held devices (eg i-STAT and Glucometers) and test kits (eg. Pregnancy tests and Chem 10 dip strips). This POCT is a rapid growing discipline at MD Anderson.
The Microbiology laboratory is a CLIA certified and accredited by the College of American Pathologist, clinical diagnostic laboratory. We provide routine bacteriology along with specialized testing in Serology, Mycology, Mycobacteriology,Virology and Molecular Microbiology. We provide identifications and susceptibilities for pathogenic organisms isolated from patient samples. We utilize both manual and automated systems to provide results. Our certified staff is highly trained and qualified to provide the testing for direct patient care. We also support the Infection Control Program at MD Anderson.
Transfusion Medicine/Donor Center
The MD Anderson Cancer Center Transfusion Medicine Section is a combination of two sections, Transfusion Service and Donor Operations. MDA transfuses over 190,000 blood components (red blood cells, platelets, plasma, granulocytes, MNCs, etc.) per year, and is considered the largest single hospital-based Transfusion Service in the U.S. serving the needs of cancer patients. In addition to blood and blood components, the Transfusion Service acquires, stores and distributes all tissue used for clinical purposes, except for bone marrow, cord blood and stem cells.
Please visit the Tissue Transplantation Program page for more information and a link to the Tissue Transplantation Institutional Policy.
The section of Donor Operations provides collection and manufacturing services for allogenic blood donors for whole blood, plateletpheresis, granulocytes, and MNCs; as well as custom clinical collections for autologous and therapeutic blood components.
We collect approximately 30,000 units of blood per year through our mobile operations and fixed site collection activities. We host approximately 500 collection drives throughout the greater Houston area. We also have three fixed sites in the Texas Medical Center area, which makes donating convenient. MD Anderson employees are a critical resource for our collections. We have over 2,500 dedicated employee donors, which is more than double the national average of donor participation.
Transfusion Medicine and Donor Operations, hold blood component licenses from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are licensed under the Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments Act of 1988 (CLIA 88); and is accredited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB Institutional Member), the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Our section of Transfusion Medicine holds a one year ACGME-accredited fellowship program in Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine. For more information visit the Residency and Fellowship Programs under Education & Training.
The Histocompatibility Typing Laboratory provides a full range of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing services that support the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. These services include intermediate resolution typing using sequence specific oligonucleotides (SSO), high resolution typing using sanger and next generation sequencing (NGS) of all HLA loci. This lab also perform anti-HLA antibody testing, C1q-fixing HLA antibody assay, killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) typing, and monitoring the immune response in post hematopoietic stem cell transplantation patients. In addition, platelet refractory panel and cytokine panel using Luminex platform are performed in the laboratory.
The HLA Lab tests for both diagnostic support and for obtaining matched blood components. The laboratory is a leader in the field, being at the cutting edge not only in regard to technical and methodological questions, but also in regard to information management. The lab has created an information management infrastructure that has been the foundation for important outcome studies that evaluate the effect of HLA matching on the outcome of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation.
In addition to these clinical and research activities, the laboratory is involved in addressing more fundamental, scientific questions like the study of population genetics of the HLA system, the definition of epitopes in the HLA molecular and the selection of peptides by different HLA molecules.