Autoantibody Standardization in the Netherlands: The Past, the Present, and the Future
New York Academy of Sciences. Annals , Volume 1173 p. 10- 14
Several initiatives have been undertaken, independent of the European Autoantibody Standardization Initiative (EASI), to standardize autoantibodies in the Netherlands. The Dutch EASI team has made an inventory of which initiatives on autoantibody standardization are already available and what future plans for autoantibody standardization exist. This inventory will subsequently be used to define what may be addressed by the Dutch EASI team. The Diagnostic Compass, initiated by the association of Dutch health insurance companies, describes methods and relevance of laboratory tests, including autoantibody tests. Recently, this initiative has been taken over by an independent publisher. There is also a national organization involved in developing guidelines in medicine, including guidelines for autoantibody testing. In addition, there is a national foundation for quality assessment in clinical laboratories (SKML). The quality assessment includes a wide array of autoantibodies. Samples are collected and thoroughly investigated by reference laboratories. Interpretation of results and advice to clinicians are part of the program. Feedback on the results of this proficiency testing is given in reports and during meetings to discuss trends, technical issues, and new developments. The last initiative that we discuss is the foundation Referentie Laboratorium Reuma Serologie (RELARES), which was founded to standardize serology in rheumatic diseases by preparing standard sera. Recently, RELARES has been combined with SKML. A new SKML working group, Standardization Autoimmune Serology, has been initiated to continue the work of RELARES. When comparing the already available Dutch initiatives to the international EASI goals, there appears to be a lack of harmonization in testing algorithms, and this issue is the most important topic to be addressed in the near future.