The Biochemistry Department encompasses:


The biochemistry unit of Canterbury Health Laboratories offers one of the most extensive testing services in New Zealand. Analyses of vitamins, hormones, trace metals, lipids, tumour markers, drugs and poisons is provided for local requestors, and also those further afield. Referrals are accepted from the wider community as well as from health care providers.


The test range includes analyses appropriate for the investigation of inborn errors of metabolism, protein, genetic and chromosomal abnormalities. This service has particular application to general medical, cardiology, oncology, paediatric and obstetric practice, as well as the specialised investigation of endocrine and thyroid or genetic disorders.


The Core Biochemistry section operates a 24 hour, 7 day a week service. This fully automated section utilises high throughput chemistry and immunoassay analysers attached to a ‘state of the art’ track and storage system. Testing covers a wide variety of analytes including metabolites, lipids, enzymes and proteins, antibiotics, drugs of abuse, cardiac markers and hepatitis and thyroid profiles. Arterial blood gases, osmolality and Foetal fibronectin are some of the specialist testing available on a 24hr basis in Core Biochemistry. The section provides both urgent and routine testing, with results available from between 30 minutes and three hours of receipt, depending on the test.


Toxicology provides a wide range of analytical services covering clinical toxicology and therapeutic drug monitoring. The laboratory has close working relationships throughout the DHB which have resulted in the development of new methods for drug monitoring. This section also has IANZ accreditation to perform workplace drug testing for businesses.


Protein Chemistry conducts identification of proteins for enhancing diagnosis and monitoring disease activity, including neurological disorders, nutritional status and levels of immunoglobins.


The Immunology section is the only lab of its type in the region. Immunology provides testing for autoimmune diseases, allergies and immune deficiencies.


Specialist Biochemistry offers a wide range of testing including paediatric testing, trace metals testing and lipid groups. It is an area which monitors the body for reaction to various external toxins. This includes nutritional assessments of patients, occupational screening for trace metal exposure, and monitoring cancer treatment and prognosis, through tumour markers.

This department works with LabPlus in Auckland to conduct the Quality Improvements for Ante Natal Down Screening and Other Conditions on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

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