Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Service

The Haematological Malignancy Diagnostic Service (HMDS) specialises in the diagnosis of cancers of the blood which include leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. HMDS provides a diagnostic service across the Yorkshire and Humber region and beyond, receiving referrals from across the UK.

Alongside its routine diagnostic work, HMDS also provides a research service, which ensures insights developed through research are quickly translated into routine clinical practice. HMDS carries out all of the laboratory analysis for LCRF haematology trials and acts as a central laboratory for many national and international clinical trials.

HMDS draws on the latest molecular genetic techniques, together with sophisticated microscopy and histology, to identify genetic abnormalities in the blood, bone marrow and tissue biopsies to diagnose haematological cancers.

HMDS has pioneered the use of flow cytometry to identify minimal residual disease in a number of haematological malignancies including CLL and myeloma. This laboratory assessment is now used as a preferred outcome measure over survival for many haematological clinical trials. Other areas of expertise include defining distinct phenotypes and gene expression to improve patient selection for trials, and using sophisticated flow cytometric techniques to identify intra-cellular markers of diagnostic and prognostic significance.

Techniques used within HMDS include:

  • Flow cytometry to identify both normal and malignant populations according to the pattern of protein expression
  • Fluorescent in site hybridisation (FISH) to detect structural abnormalities of chromosomes
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify pre-defined DNA sequences, normally present at low levels, to a point where they can be readily analysed
  • Gene expression and SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) arrays to detect mutations/polymorphisms in a gene sequence

As there are 60 recognised subtypes of haematological malignancy, all of which differ in their clinical presentation and requirement for treatment and prognostic assessment, these specialist techniques are vital to ensure accurate diagnosis, selection of patients for trials and suitable monitoring through a treatment programme.

To contact HMDS: Cathy Burton
Tel: 0113 206 7851
Email: cathy.burton1@nhs.net