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Latest News

  • TB Genomics Service Pilot Project

    Item Author Clare Overton Lewis

    PHE Birmingham are launching our TB Genomics Service pilot project next month.



    • In the last 10-months we have participated in an eight-centre international collaboration study on TB Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) led by Oxford which has used DNA extracted from MGIT. 
    • The Oxford led project is a feasibility study on the use of WGS in TB diagnosis, resistance profiling and epidemiological mapping of outbreaks. During this Feasibility study, working with our colleagues at Oxford, DNA extraction and MiSeq sequencing methodologies have been established at Heartlands. Raw sequence data has been shared with Oxford through a cloud setup and analysis reports (on mycobacterial species identity, drug resistance predictions and strain typing) received within 48 hours of the raw data being uploaded.
    • A total 13 MiSeq runs have been carried out at Heartlands, all of which successful. Consequently the Birmingham lab has been a major contributor to the project, submitting the highest number of sequences and achieving the best sequence quality of all the contributors.
    • The results from this feasibility study were presented at this year’s ECCMID in a joint report with our colleagues from Oxford. 
    • The Birmingham lab has now been selected to set up a pilot for a TB Genomic Service (TBGS).  


    TBGS Pilot project plan

    • This TBGS pilot has been identified as a top priority for PHE. It has been fully funded with the aim of introducing WGS into the mainstream of the NHS TB patient care pathway. 
    • We are required to deliver this project within 12 months (July 2014-Jun 2015).
    • Workload: The pilot will involve WGS based analysis of all mycobacterial isolates submitted to the Reference Centre from NHS laboratories across the Midlands, and parts of South Yorkshire and Humberside (up to 80 isolates per week).
    • A local TBGS group meeting is scheduled to occur on a weekly basis and we will provide regular feedback on progress at both local management meetings and by e-mail to the wider group of stakeholders.

    Further information about the project can be found here

  • Representative fragment of Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma stained with CA19-9:

    Notification of changes to CA19-9

    Item Author Craig Webster

    On Wednesday 11th June the method for the CA19-9 assay at HEFT will change from the Siemens Immulite assay to the Roche assay. Our comparisons have shown that the results are comparable in most cases; however, there were some samples which did show a poor correlation.  We are therefore going to dual report results for a period to allow transition of serially monitored patients to the new CA199 assay.

    Further more detailed information is available on request. If you have any queries or comments please contact Craig Webster (Clinical Lead for Blood Sciences) by email or ext 42930.

  • Change to Thyroid requesting

    Change to Thyroid requesting

    Item Author Craig Webster

    As of 27th May 2014 TSH only will be the frontline test for investigating Thyroid function. If the TSH is <0.35 mU/L or >4.9 mU/L a fT4 will be automatically added on to the request. If the TSH is <0.1 mU/L fT3 will also be added. The reason for this is to encourage more appropriate use of the thyroid tests. If you have any queries or concerns please contact the duty biochemist (bleep 2506).


Written by Craig Webster on .

This handbook encompasses all disciplines of Laboratory Medicine at Birmingham Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope Hospitals. It has been designed to provide the busy general practitioner and hospital doctor more readily available information regarding our services. 


You can search or browse our test directory here. This database includes details on all our tests and recommended profiles for the investigation of common presenting complaints.