Abbott Laboratories LogoAbbott, Abbott Park, Ill, has received FDA approval for its ARCHITECT AFP test, which may help physicians detect serious birth defects and the progression of testicular cancer.

Biomarkers, such as alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), are substances in the body that physicians can measure to identify the progress of diseases or conditions and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

The ARCHITECT AFP assay is a chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay for the quantitative determination of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) in:

  • Human serum or plasma to aid in monitoring disease progression during the course of disease and treatment of patients with nonseminomatous testicular cancer.
  • Human serum, plasma, and amniotic fluid at 15 to 21 weeks gestation to aid in the detection of fetal open neural tube defects (NTD). Test results when used in conjunction with ultrasonography or amniography are a safe and effective aid in the detection of fetal open NTD.

It runs on Abbott’s fully-automated ARCHITECT i2000, i2000SR, ci8200, and ci16200 analyzers.

NTDs are serious fetal birth defects of the brain and spine that occur very early in development. When the neural tube, a structure that develops into the brain and spinal cord, fails to close properly, AFP is thought to leak directly from the fetus into the mother’s amniotic fluid, causing unexpectedly high levels of AFP in the mother’s blood.

A blood test that measures AFP can help physicians determine if a woman is carrying a fetus affected with birth defects, such as anencephaly (the absence of a large part of the brain and the skull) and spina bifida (the incomplete closing of the backbone and spinal canal).

Treatments for NTDs focus on closing the defect with surgery (including surgery before birth) and treating or addressing related symptoms such as excess fluid in the brain and bladder and bowel problems.

Men with one type of testicular cancer, called nonseminoma germ cell, have elevated AFP levels present in their bloodstreams. Blood tests to measure AFP can be used to evaluate responses to treatment. By monitoring disease progression and seeking treatment when necessary, testicular cancer can be a highly treatable, and usually curable, cancer.

[Source: Abbott Diagnostics]