* Author Topic: Info about getting Level 2 Immunes tests done with Locus Medicus (Athens)  (Read 8971 times)

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Offline Uber Barrens Club

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Hi ladies

I recently had a number of level 2 immunes tests done with Locus Medicus in Athens (the lab of Hidden-C menstrual blood PCR fame, who Serum use)

The Athens tests are broadly identical to the Chicago tests,

There’s info in the immunes FAQ about seeing an immunes Dr in Athens:


In agate’s wonderful Serum file of info, she’s put the following about Immunes tests that can be arranged in Athens:

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Serum can arrange for you to be seen for immune tests e.g., NK assay (170Eu immunophenotype - CD56 bright/dim and CD4/8 but not the cytotoxicity - Dr Economou feels that the CD4/CD8 ratio and the CD56bright/dim ratio is sufficient to indicate whether there would be an elevated cytotoxicity - this can be done by post on a sample of chilled blood), cytokines (120Eu TNFa:IL10, IFNg:IL10, IL4:IL10, IL17F:IL10 - these are done on the free cytokines in the serum (like RIC UK) rather than the intracellular cytoplasmic cytokines in CD4 cells like RFU - this allows the test to be done by post), HLA- DQa (80Eu per partner - easily done by post), thrombophilia panel 260Eu (including MTHFR, PAI-1, Prothrombin II, Factor V Leiden and antiphospholipid antibodies, KIR activator gene test €200 (package price NKa, TH1:TH2 and KIR €490, or same including LAD and DQas €580)- all can be done by post - although sending frozen/refrigerated samples can be very expensive (see my immune FAQ for more info on those tests). The KIR blood sample is easy to send by post (2 – 5 ml whole blood in a EDTA containing tube (lavender/purple top), NO CENTRIFUGATION, no specific storage conditions) by post.  Their local immunologist is:

Dr Emanuel Economou
Assistant Professor of Pharmacogenetics
Medical School
University of Athens
Dimitriou Soutsou 41,
Ampelokipi 115 21
Athens
[email protected]

However just wanted to add my experience of getting some of the tests done remotely directly with Locus Medicus

I had a brilliant experience with them, so thought I’d post it all here for completeness, as there’s bits of info dotted around various threads


Why choose the Athens tests?

They’re cheaper than the Chicagos

A FF poster advised that when she contacted LM, and asked if their immunes test were the same as the Chicago tests, they replied

“‘The 300 € panel is exactly the same with the Chicago tests. The only differences are that at the moment the NK cytotoxicity assay is performed in presence of Intralipid only and not IVIG (it is a matter of product availability from the supplier here) and of course that are considerably cheaper. We have samples from individuals and clinics all around Europe send to us for testing routinely so if you are interested we will be more than happy to accommodate you”

HOWEVER

Very important to preface this - I am not a patient of Dr G, nor any of the other immunes specialists, so whilst anecdotally FF posters have said that Dr G accepted the Athens

I would think it would be very risky to get these done if you’re being treated or planning on being treated by Dr G / Dr Ndukwe / any of the other specialist immunes Drs - as they will all generally prefer the Chicagos

Dr G might accept them - or he might not.  Anecdotally some FF posters have said he has done in the past - but no guarantees. Might be OK for retesting once you’ve had the initial tests w/ RFU - you’d have to check

My Dr is happy to prescribe empirically for immunes, but for my own peace of mind (knowledge is power etc) whilst I wasn’t going to fork out £1500 for the Chicagos, €300.00 was worth it for me to have an initial steer

If you are with a clinic who are happy to treat empirically & just want some more insight / reassurance - like me - it’s a great option

If you’re not sure whether to go and see an immunes specialist, these could be a good option to give you a bit more direction

However if you’re seeing Dr G already, or have decided you’re going to see him, it could be a risky option, if you’re going to have to do the Chicagos anyway


Pricing

Here’s the reproductive immunology price list the Dr at LM sent me - doesn’t include the thrombophilia tests but I’m sure they could send you prices for those

- Immunophenotyping of peripheral blood lymphocytes: €120.00
- NK cell cytotoxicity assay: €90.00
- NK cell cytotoxicity assay with intralipid: €120.00
- Regulatory T-Cell Panel: €60.00
- Th1:Th2 cytokine ratio assay: €130.00
- Leukocyte antibody detection panel (cross-match): €165.00
- HLA DQα-1 detection/typing: €90.00
- HLA Typing any other single allele typing:  €90.00

Reproductive Immunology Panel (3 tests): €300.00
- Immunophenotyping of peripheral blood lymphocytes
- NK cell cytotoxicity assay with Ιntralipid
- Th1/Th2 cytokine ratio assay

Anti-phospholipid antibody tests in one panel: €220.00

Anti-nuclear antibody tests in one panel: €130.00

Other auto-antibody tests in one panel: €80.00
-Anti-thyroid Antibodies
-Anti-β2 Glycoprotein I Antibodies
-Lupus Anticoagulant


How does it work to get the tests done?

I emailed LM and Dr. Venieratos advised the following

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It it certainly possible to send your samples by courier to Locus Medicus for analysis. The only prerequisite is that they arrive close to next day delivery around 24 hours (a small deviation from this won’t harm them but just to be on the safe side we try to aim for around 24-36 hours). They should travel at room temperature (no icepacks) and away from light. Of course you will need to find a medical professional to draw the bloods for you according to the following instructions:

SAMPLE REQUIREMENTS (Must be delivered to lab within 24 hours in Room Temperature / Avoid exposure to light)

A)  For Immunophenotyping of peripheral blood lymphocytes:
1x peripheral blood (EDTA) Lavender Vacutainer

B) For NK cytotoxicity:
2 x peripheral blood (HEPARIN) Green Vacutainer

C) For Th1/Th2 cytokine assay:
2 x peripheral blood (HEPARIN) Green Vacutainer

In the clinic where they will draw your bloods they will know which Vacutainers are the appropriate according to the above. If necessary I could also send you the Vacutainers and a small box for the transportation but that would raise the cost since  depending on your location there could be a 40 € to 100 € shipping charge.

NB the above is just the requirements for the 3 in 1 immunology panel I ordered - I don’t know what the requirements would be for other tests, but LM can obviously provide you with this info!


Getting blood drawn

I asked Dr Venieratos for a referral letter so I could get the blood drawn - I went to TDL, and paid £30 for their self-referral phlebotomy service, but you could go anywhere that’s convenient to you

FYI, this is the letter they sent me

Quote
To whomever it may concern,

<Ms Bananafish> needs the following peripheral blood samples drawn for tests she requested from our clinic.

1x peripheral blood (EDTA) Lavender Vacutainer
4 x peripheral blood (HEPARIN) Green Vacutainer

The samples must be kept and transported in room temperature (no icepacks) and delivered within 24 to 36 hours maximum to Locus Medicus for analysis. Exposure to light should be kept to a minimum. Delivery should be planned between Monday and Thursday (not Friday and during the weekend).

Thank you for your assistance,

For any additional information please do not hesitate to contact us. Sincerely Yours,
For Locus Medicus SA,


Packaging the samples

TDL packaged the vacutioners in specisafe containers, so I could leave the lab with them safely - not sure what other places would do, but if in doubt you can get LM to send you a mailing package if needed, as above.

LM sent me a letter of authorisation to confirm that the samples were safe for shipping:

Quote
To whom it may concern:
The enclosed specimens contain non-infectious human blood to be used for diagnostic purposes only. The commercial value of this package is zero.
This package is time sensitive, please expedite package.
Please, call our office if you have any questions (tel, 0030 210 65 44 444, e-mail: [email protected] medicus.gr).
Dr. Vassiliki Michou Molecular Biologist, PhD
Locus Medicus SA
246 Mesogeion Ave., 155 61, Holargos, Athens, Greece

Dr Venieratos advised that the samples fell into the following category:

Quote
“DIAGNOSTIC SPECIMEN - NON-TOXIC, NON-INFECTIOUS BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCE, UN3373 - CATEGORY B.”
Such samples do not have any special restrictions other than sample containers that ensure that there is no danger of spillage.

I ordered a ‘clinical pak’ plastic envelope designed for shipping medical specimens from Fed-Ex (free of charge) as this plus the specisafe containers from TDL meant everything strictly conformed to the above regulations

You probably don’t need to go to these lengths, I was just being extra cautious. I’m sure bubble wrap and a suitably sized box would I’m sure do the job equally well


Shipping the samples

LM recommended I use TNT, as they do overnight shipping to Greece (which neither Fed-Ex, UPS or DHL offer)

I went into Mailboxes Etc paid approx £40 for overnight shipping to Athens via TNT

Dr. Venieratos asked me how much I had been quoted for shipping, because depending on the price quoted, if he could arrange it for cheaper, he would sort it out at his end. He was unbelievably helpful!

I got the 3 in 1 Reproductive Immunology Panel for €300.00, paid £30 for the blood draw, and £40 for shipping. So approx £300 all in. Results were back within 3 working days - one very satisfied customer.

Hope this is helpful

FertilityFriends

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    Offline aussieinscotland

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    Hi bananafish81,
    Thanks so much for posting this. I've recently been in touch with Locus Medicus and I'm skyping with Dr. Tsilivakos the week after next. So far they have been very helpful. I've been TTC for 3 and a half years, and have just had my second unsuccessful transfer with an excellent embryo. It was a FET, got a BFP but ended up being a chemical.
    I have hashimoto's but my clinic is NHS so they do not offer any immune investigation/treatment. I'm also based in Scotland. So Locus Medicus sounds like an affordable and convenient place to start...
    My concern is if they do find something, I'll need to find a doctor willing to write a prescription.
    Thanks again for all the info.  :)

    Offline MrsGbodi

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    Hi Aussie,
    I saw dr Tsilivakos a couple of weeks ago, we actually went to Athens as I wa having LIT done there. They also did a few tests for us (not immunes as I had all those done before.
    I found him really good and have a feeling that we a finally getting to the cause of our problems (had multiple chemicals, on immune treatment as well)
    Just had a results back and need another consultation to discuss th results/treatment.
    Was offered skype but we'll go to Athens instead (and stay a bit longer and have holidays as well). Also pick any medication there.
    However if we did skype consult I would expect them to send me paper copy of prescription and get it in any pharmacy here... so far I never had issues with prescriptions from abroad (must be from EU which Greece is)
    I have Hashimoto's as well...
    Good luck with your consultation, please let us know how it went....
    Also please feel free to pm me if you have any questions....

    Offline Uber Barrens Club

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    Hi aussie

    So chuffed if it’s been helpful! I couldn’t really find anything about doing the tests directly with LM (other than the infection testing), so thought if I put everything I’d gathered along the way together in one place, hopefully it might be of some use

    Based purely on my own experience, I can’t recommend them enough

    I only saw the price list for reproductive immunology, but I know they offer a pretty extensive range of other tests, so def worth asking them for more info

    (Presuming you’ve already seen your GP about getting referred for testing, given you have an existing autoimmune condition?)

    Good luck!

    And do post back to let us know how you got ?

    xx

    Offline aussieinscotland

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    Hi MrsGbodi and bananafish81! Thanks heaps. I’ll definitely let you know how I get on.
    That’s brilliant to know that if I need a prescription from Locus Medicus it shouldn’t be a problem. They’ve been really great already, with quickness and helpfulness of replies via email. I’m looking forward to my Skype appointment next week. I feel like they will give us that extra attention to our case which we are missing from my GP and IVF clinic.
    I think I’ve got about 8 weeks maybe before my next FET transfer, so keen to see what tests I can fit in before then. They all seem so reasonably priced, even with the costs for blood draws/postage.

    banana fish – my GP and Clinic haven’t done any testing other than the standard tests . They’ve both told me my previous high level of thyroid antibodies is totally ‘normal’ for someone with an underactive thyroid, and not to worry about it. That it won’t be effecting my fertility, because I’m on levothyroxine. Ha! I’ve read so much that says otherwise. They won’t even use the term Hashimoto’s. I’ve basically taken my immune health into my own hands, and have been working with a nutritionist which has really helped. I’ve even brought my antibodies back into a normal range, so fingers crossed that will help me get a BFP sometime soon! We have four little embryo’s in the freezer. So fingers crossed…

    Thanks again! :-)

    Offline Haley2015

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    Hi Bananafish,

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information. I called Locus Medicus and after few days Dr Penieratos called me and was very helpful.
    I sent them the vacutainers and highly recommend their service. Just to update. at the moment they are not testing for KIR, as they are moving lab, but they will in the future.

    Offline Uber Barrens Club

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    That's great Haley - everything crossed for you.  I found them so helpful to deal with, they were terrific. xx

    Offline Pizzicato45

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    Bananafish,
    Thank you so much for info. I am going to go ahead with these tests just to put my mind at rest before my next cycle. Aussie - I am also Hashimotos and live in Scotland. Not easy getting anyone to treat it from a fertility point of view up here at all  >:(
    Good luck to you all

    x

    Offline maybebaybee

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    Thanks for such a useful post, bananafish! How long was it from sending the blood until you received results? I am still on the fence, as €300 is no small change, but giving it serious consideration for at least that one combined set of tests.

    Offline Uber Barrens Club

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    Hi maybebaybee

    The results were turned around in about 3 working days

    Good luck!