Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US have developed a new standard reference material (SRM) to improve the results obtained through a common blood test used to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease.
The blood test works by measuring the levels of an inflammation marker called C-reactive protein (CRP).
Although a precise relation between CRP levels and CV disease is yet to be established, it is reported that inflammation in arteries might result in plaque build-up, which could lead to heart attacks and strokes.
According to NIST, evaluation of high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) tests in certain studies looking for small amounts of the protein in blood demonstrated an advantage for heart disease prediction in normal cholesterol counts.
The hsCRP test kits are developed using antibodies that provide an accurate count of CRP by attaching to the protein present in a blood sample.
Test results are said to vary with batches and kit makers based on the source and quality of the antibodies.
NIST biologist Eric Kilpatrick said: “We began developing a reference material for the hsCRP test when we recognised that a patient’s test results might depend on which test kit was used.
“Repeatable, reliable results, no matter when or where the blood test is performed, are critical to health, and, without them, it is difficult for doctors to use hsCRP to decide treatment options and to follow a patient’s progress accurately.”
The new NIST SRM 2924 C-Reactive Protein Solution offers a reference benchmark tool for consistent kit test results through confirmation that the antibodies in the kits correctly bind to CRP.
NIST prepares analyses and sells more than 1,200 materials to test the accuracy of tests and instruments in various fields such as clinical chemistry, manufacturing, environmental monitoring, electronics, and criminal forensics.
Image: NIST SRM 2924 C-Reactive Protein Solution provides a tool to improve the consistency of results for a test used to calculate the risk of cardiovascular disease. Photo: courtesy of NIST.