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Pathology Core Reference Laboratory Services

The Pathology Core Reference Laboratory provides support for both clinical diagnostic testing as well as clinical research studies at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

In addition, the laboratory extends its testing support extramurally to a number of clinical investigators at other universities, pharmaceutical houses and diagnostic companies. See a selection of extramural projects and contracts here.

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The Pathology Core Reference Laboratory’s primary goal is to provide state-of-the-art, low-cost, quality endocrine testing for the clinicians and investigators at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The Division of Endocrinology is a busy university-based practice that treats a diverse population of patients from the central Pennsylvania area and beyond.

The laboratory was founded more than 15 years ago in an attempt to offer our physicians a laboratory that could perform the esoteric testing required for diagnosing and treating endocrine diseases. Today it still functions in that capacity by offering a test menu designed specifically for clinicians’ needs.

In addition our support now extends to an IVF clinic, a Clinical Research Center and a Cancer Center, all on the Hershey campus. These programs study areas of endocrinology including endocrine oncology (i.e. breast and prostate cancer), metabolic bone disease, prenatal testing, diabetes and women’s health.

The laboratory also extends to area physicians the same testing and interpretative services offered to our clinical house staff.

The Pathology Core Reference Laboratory is one of the few laboratories in the country to offer expertise in such a broad range of endocrine testing for both adult and pediatric based clinical research.

Especially noteworthy is our ability to provide urine gonadotropin testing which incorporates the pulsatility of gonadotropin excretion for proper result interpretation in normal children and those with suspected gonadal disorders.

The lab has expertise in the measurement of blood and urine prostaglandins and leukotrienes for clinical diagnostic and investigative purposes. Additionally, it performs steroid biochemistry including the analysis of over 20 esoteric steroids such as estrone, estrone sulfate, and 17 OH-progesterone.

The Pathology Core Reference Laboratory has provided clinical research testing support in the last 15 years to more than three dozen universities, hospitals, clinics and institutes throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

The Pathology Core Reference Laboratory functions as an educational resource for Penn State College of Medicine. Each week, faculty from the lab and the attending endocrinologist present a conference designed to teach the medical residents and students about the utilization, methodology and significance of endocrine testing.

All of the clinical results generated for the week are reviewed and discussed in a small group that is very conducive to question-and-answer.

In addition a clinical rotation through the endocrine service with access to the lab is available to the medical house staff, medicine and pathology residents and medical students.

The Pathology Core Reference Laboratory contracts with pharmaceutical companies to evaluate the efficacy and safety of drugs that target endocrine based diseases.

These studies have largely focused on steroid biochemistry and the determination of blood and urine estradiol and estrone levels using ultra-sensitive methods to detect the suppressed, postmenopausal levels.

Several Phase I and Phase III studies have been carried out with companies such as Ciba Geigy, US Bioscience, Zeneca, Merrel Dow and Pharmacia. These projects examined the efficacy and potency of aromatase inhibitors used for second line therapy of breast cancer.

The lab staff is experienced in all aspects of clinical trial hormone analysis and is able to customize its support for each individual study.

The lab also functions as a trial site for pre-FDA approval evaluation of instruments and reagents for diagnostic companies. Abbott Laboratories, Dupont, Behring Diagnostics, Johnson & Johnson Clinical Diagnostics, INCstar and Hybritech are a few companies that have contracted testing and evaluation support from the Pathology Core Reference Laboratory.