Immunology

Our Immunology division encompasses three core labs situated at major public hospitals; the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre and Women's and Children's Hospital. It also incorporates the diagnostic flow cytometry facilities at each of these sites and at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The services provided are outlined below.

Clinical consultation

On-call clinical consultation phone: 08 8222 3000

Clinical Immunologists are available on-call to advise on test selection and interpretation. We encourage discussion, especially in areas where test selection is complex or where testing is potentially expensive and/or difficult to interpret.

Autoimmune serology

Comprehensive testing is provided of all autoantibodies to diagnose and monitor systemic connective tissue diseases and organ specific autoimmunity. Autoantibodies associated with systemic connective tissue diseases may include ANA, ENA, RF, CCP, myositis specific antibodies and scleroderma specific antibodies.

Various organic specific autoantibodies are also tested, including coeliac antibodies, liver autoantibodies, gastric parietal cell and intrinsic factor antibodies, thyroid antibodies, diabetes autoantibodies and paraneoplastic neurological antibodies.

Immunochemistry

Testing is conducted for normal and abnormal serum proteins, including immunoglobulin levels, CRP, complement levels, beta 2 microglobulins, serum and urine electrophoresis/immunofixation for myeloma typing and cryoglobulin/cryofibrinogen testing.

Allergy testing

Total IgE, Specific IgE against extensive panels of aeroallergens, foods and insect venoms and serum tryptase estimations are offered.

Flow cytometry

All aspects of analytical flow cytometry for malignant haematology and immunodeficiency are offered. Specimens may include peripheral blood, bone marrow samples, various tissues and body fluids. In addition to routine diagnostic tests, specialised tests are offered including minimal residual disease monitoring in acute and chronic myeloid and lymphoid leukaemias, multiple myeloma, PNH testing and testing for maternal-foetal haemorrhage.

Immunodeficiency

Comprehensive testing to diagnose or exclude most of the primary immunodeficiency diseases is offered. The tests include lymphocyte subset analysis for B, T and NK enumeration, lymphocyte proliferation assays and cytokine production, neutrophil function tests, functional complement assays and immunoglobulin levels (IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE, IgG subclasses), antibodies to pneumococcal, diptheria and tetanus and genetic analysis for detection of mutations leading to many primary immunodeficiency diseases.

Specialised tests

Specialised tests are also offered such as HLA typing for susceptibility to many autoimmune diseases (HLA DR4 for rheumatoid arthritis, HLA DQ 2 & 8 for coeliac diseases and HLA B27 for spondyloarthropathies) and HLA B57 for Abacavir hypersensitivity reactions. Quantiferon Gold (IGRA) is also used to diagnose occult TB infection.

Translational research

There is an active translational research program at all sites to investigate newer and robust cellular and serum biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring of various autoimmune, allergic and immunodeficiency diseases.

Other professional services

Immunologists in SA Pathology serve on various committees within the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia to discuss and implement new tests, and lobby for government funding for these tests. The Immunology division is also responsible for administering the quality assurance programs for immunopathological tests to all of the diagnostic laboratories in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Clinical Director: Professor Peter Roberts-Thomson
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Directorate Manager: John Bahnisch
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