Melbourne Pathology is a full-service laboratory offering a wide-range of pathology specialties, including:

Chemical Pathology
The Chemical Pathology Department is a high volume, highly automated department performing a large range of tests. Most of the specimens tested in the department are serum; although urine, faeces and other bodily fluids are also analysed. The department utilises the latest instrumentation to produce the highest quality results. The analysers are directly interfaced with our laboratory information system to ensure efficiency and accuracy.

Some of the tests performed in the department include: electrolytes, liver function tests, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and allergy tests. In addition, analysis for tumour markers, hormones, special proteins and therapeutic drugs are also performed. The Chemical Pathology Department incorporates a toxicology laboratory which analyses urine for drugs of abuse such as amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, cocaine and opiates.

Cytogenetics
Cytogenetics or karyotyping is the analysis of chromosome structure and function. The normal human genome consists of 46 chromosomes; 22 pairs comprising the autosomes plus one pair of sex chromosomes (XY for normal male and XX for normal females). It is the size, position of the centromere (constriction point) and distinct banding pattern exhibited by each pair that allows the chromosomes to be unequivocally identifiable.

Karyotyping may be requested for the investigation of recurrent miscarriages, infertility, developmental or pubertal delay, an increased risk for Down Syndrome in a pregnancy as well as other indications. In this laboratory karyotyping is performed on amniotic fluid samples, chorionic villus samples, blood, products of conception and tissue biopsy specimens.

In recent years, a new addition to routine cytogenetic testing is FISH or fluorescent in situ hybridisation. This is a process where specific pieces of DNA have been labelled with a fluorescent tag and are hybridised directly onto a slide bearing the specimen or target DNA. This allows detection of specific regions of DNA on the chromosomes. It is an invaluable tool for diagnosing syndromes associated with sub-microscopic deletions and duplications.

The Cytogenetics Department also offers a FISH aneuploidy screen which uses probes specific for chromosomes 13, 18, 21, X and Y in uncultured cells for prenatal applications. This test is used for rapidly detecting trisomies or monosomies for these chromosomes.

All staff in the cytogenetics department are scientists with qualifications in genetics and have an extensive knowledge in the theory behind cytogenetic techniques. Extensive training ensures that all staff have sound expertise in chromosome identification and analysis.

Cytopathology
Cytopathology focuses on the diagnosis of disease by the microscopic examination of cells. Common specimens are cervical (Pap) tests; fine needle aspirates of masses such as breast lumps, thyroid lesions or lymph nodes and cells exfoliated into specimens such as urine or sputum. The examination of these specimens can assist in the detection of cancerous or precancerous conditions as well as other diseases. The Pap tests examined by cytopathology are part of the routine screening program for cervical cancer prevention. The non-gynaecological specimens are diagnostic in that the results are required in order to treat the patient's symptoms. The quality control procedures practised by the department ensure the highest quality result for your specimen.

Haematology
Haematology is the study of blood. Our Haematology Department provides a highly personalised service with a team of experienced staff and 24-hour pathologist support for clinicians and patients.

Our state-of-the-art analysers provide rapid and accurate results, and when indicated, a manual morphological review is performed. We have comprehensive blood bank facilities that provide surgical, obstetric and haemato-oncology support. Special haematology tests include flow cytometry for the diagnosis of haematological malignancies and management of HIV, and haemoglobin electrophoresis for the diagnosis of haemoglobinopathies and thalassaemias. We also provide monitoring of patients who have been referred for management of their warfarin therapy.

Histopathology
Histopathology is the branch of pathology that deals with tissue diagnosis of disease. We receive and process specimens that range from small biopsies and skin samples often taken in a doctor’s surgery, to whole organs removed under anaesthetic in an operating theatre. Sophisticated imaging techniques and radiology mean that it is now possible to biopsy previously inaccessible body sites. For patients subjected to biopsy, the final diagnosis is invariably made by a Histopathologist. This diagnosis usually determines your clinical management.

Our pathologists possess outstanding expertise in a number of subspecialties, and work together to provide reliable diagnostic results for all areas of histopathology. Our pathologists provide a comprehensive consultative service to general practitioners and specialists.

Pathologists are supported by a team of dedicated, highly trained staff. The department uses advanced equipment to deliver quality results in the shortest possible time. Most of our histopathology results are available within 24 hours.

Immunoserology
Our Immunoserology Department encompasses three areas of testing:

  • Immunology: includes a wide range of immunological assays including a comprehensive coeliac disease profile, in addition to various autoantibody screens. This has recently been enhanced by the introduction of a state-of-the-art, automated, immunofluorescence automated sample processor, which enables a superior service by reducing test turnaround times.
  • Serology: provides a wide-ranging infectious serology service for all hepatitis, HIV and antenatal testing, as well as other viral and bacterial serology assays. Quantiferon testing for the detection of tuberculosis is also performed.
  • Molecular Pathology: we perform DNA testing for various viral and bacterial infectious agents including; Human Papillomavirus for detection of high-risk genotypes shown to cause cervical cancer; as well as genetic testing for conditions such as haemochromatosis and clotting abnormalities. Most tests utilise ‘real-time’ PCR technology providing a more accurate and sensitive result, as well as reduced risk of cross contamination - commonly found in conventional PCR techniques.

The immunoserology department is focused on emerging trends in diagnosis and is constantly introducing new assays; enabling clinicians to provide the highest level of patient care.

Microbiology
The Microbiology Department can diagnose many of the 30,000 described bacterial causes of infection - from Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans to Zygomycetes.

Areas of expertise include pathogenic bacteria isolation and identification, mycology, mycobacteriology, enteric pathogen detection, parasitology, enteric virology, urinalysis, synovial fluid analysis, blood culture diagnosis, and applications of molecular and genetic diagnosis.

We also provide an expert service in the areas of infection control, antimicrobials and anti-fungal agents.