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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

UK TMAU testing : Bright 2017

Sheffield Children's Hospital is/was the only source in the UK (and Ireland) for the trimethylaminuria phenotype (urine) test.
Due to a machine fault, it was suspended in autumn 2016.
Now Sheffield and other UK NHS Metabolism labs plan to offer the test.
A MEBO Campaign may have played a part.

Good news (UK)
Our understanding is that not only will the Sheffield lab have the test running again soon (estimate : late January 2017 ... next validation check will be Jan 9th), but possibly due to a campaign by MEBO and the TMAU community, it seems that other UK NHS labs are looking to offer the test. This could lead to new opinions and innovations. It seems likely that new labs may switch to Liquid Chromatography ( as the MEBO test uses), which is seen as a better method than Gas Chromatography, and seen as the future method (for standard 'practical' labs). For now, Sheffield is continuing with it's proven method using Gas.

MEBO Campaign
UK MEBO director Karen James spearheaded a campaign to get the test reinstated as soon as possible. This included contacting (e.g.) politicians (Health ministers, the UK Health Committee). It seems they did contact NHS labs about this. Emails were also sent to REGIONAL UK NHS labs that specialize in metabolism. This may have played a role in other UK labs now looking to offer the test.
Perhaps this can inspire others in other countries.

VIAPATH
It seems a private sector company which is probably an offshoot from the NHS, VIAPATH, may also offer the test. It's unlikely this will be direct-to-consumer. More likely they will supply organisations who provide the test to Health Professionals. But perhaps ways can be found around that.  
VIAPATH website
  
METBIO
The UK NHS metabolism test labs seem to communicate via METBIO, which is a sort of 'union' for them.
METBIO website

Overall, TMAU testing was looking at a crisis in 2016, and now is looking much better. With now more than one lab expected to test in the UK, and possibly innovation and new views on the (conservative) TMAU1 reference range that Sheffield had.


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