All of these programmes use a stable whole blood material. The samples you will receive are stabilised using a patented procedure and will remain stable up to 1 year at between +2 and +8 degrees C. Please store any samples at this temperature until testing but allow the samples to reach ambient temperature before staining.
Because the material is stabilised some minor adjustments may be required to the Forward Scatter (FSc) and Side Scatter (SSc) Photo Multiplier Tube (PMT) voltages. This is normal and does not affect the staining characteristics. Owing to the stabilisation process, the cells are not viable. UK NEQAS LI therefore recommends that viability dyes are either not used or, if used, all cells are included in the viable cells gate. In addition, the stabilisation process allows for haemoglobin to leach out of the red blood cells. As a result of this the samples may have a haemolysed appearance. This is normal and the samples can be tested.
Do not be concerned if the haematology profile on these samples does not give a valid differential. This is due to the stabilisation process. These samples have been developed to give the optimum performance using “flow cytometric” assays and have been used in these EQA programmes for over fifteen years.
****NEW FOR 2023-2024***
As part of the continuous development of our EQA/PT provision we will be introducing several updates to our flow cytometry programmes in 2023-2024.
Changes to Measurable Residual Disease Programmes - Following the successful redesign of the Measurable Residual Disease (MRD) for Plasma Cell Myeloma by Flow Cytometry programme in 2022-2023, we will continue to roll these changes out to the other flow cytometry MRD programmes in 2023-2024. These changes will include the ability to add and save antibody panels for future exercises; and the capture of additional clone information and staining intensity to facilitate trouble shooting.
Educational Electronic Trials - Having demonstrated the clear benefits of the electronic rounds, and due to an ongoing lack of sample availability in the Measurable Residual Disease for Plasma Cell Myeloma by Flow Cytometry programme, we will be reducing the number of rounds featuring wet samples to two per annum. We will be including an electronic round as standard to offset this.
Further to the above, Educational Electronic Trials will continue to operate in other flow cytometry programmes as educational exercises alongside the existing EQA/PT programmes to determine interpersonal differences between laboratory scientists when analysing standardised anonymised data files to help develop and support individual competencies in the analysis of acquired data. The programmes which will offer an Educational Electronic trial are as follows:
There will be no changes to the number 'wet' exercises in the above programmes.
Flow Cytometry Webinar 2023/2024 - Following the success of the molecular acute myeloid leukaemia MRD webinar we will be hosting a flow cytometry focussed webinar this year. Further details to follow soon.
* denotes changes to the programme in 2023/2024
Please see programme specific pages on our website for further details.