Dr Dominic Harrington
Scientific Director Viapath, St Thomas’ Hospital, London
Dr Harrington has a longstanding interest in the development and implementation of novel laboratory markers for the assessment of nutritional status, influencing practice in the UK and internationally. He has raised awareness that laboratory tests routinely used to determine vitamin status are often not sensitive enough to detect patients who would benefit from nutritional support.
In 1996 Dr Harrington founded the International Quality Assurance Scheme for vitamin K. His aim was to facilitate collaboration and the harmonisation of vitamin K analysis to support population and clinical studies. Fifty laboratories from 15 countries have now participated in the scheme, representing the majority of laboratories in the World with an interest vitamin K. Current participant nations include: Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and the USA.
In 2002 Dr Harrington coined the word ‘Nutristasis’ and set up ‘The Human Nutristasis Unit’ at St. Thomas’ Hospital. Since then the unit has grown from a single member of staff (himself) to a dedicated team of twelve, with an annual activity approaching 300,000 tests. Innovations from the unit include the first assays suitable for the non-invasive determination of ‘total’ vitamin K status. An extension of Dominic’s interests beyond nutrition contributed to the understanding of mechanisms behind warfarin resistance.
During the last five years Dr Harrington has turned his attention to the laboratory diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. Unfortunately the clinical utility of approaches taken by laboratories for the assessment vitamin B12 status are generally poorly understood by service providers and by their users alike. Consequently, opportunities to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency are often missed. There is a growing realisation that no single laboratory marker is suitable for the assessment of vitamin B12 in all patients.
Title: Laboratory Assessment of B12 Status