Clinical need

Unlocking innovation in gastroenterology diagnostics

August 5, 2022

Alpha Laboratories is passionate about findings new ways to help science improve people’s lives through its evolving range of diagnostic and laboratory solutions. Over the past 45-years, Alpha has supported health care providers and innovators to modernise care pathways for the betterment of health care services and patients.


Alpha Laboratories has worked alongside key opinion leaders on the development of new guidelines for faecal immunochemical testing (FIT), which is now a staple in lower-GI diagnostic pathways. The FIT-KITkit provides an efficient and convenient solution for patients to collect their sample at home with the testing device and post it back to the lab. At the MediWales conference in 2021, Alpha Laboratories won the prestigious Partnership with the NHS Award, in recognition of their collaborative work with the Clinical Biochemistry team at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, resulting in the successful rollout of their FIT service.

Healthcare in the Patient’s hands

Faecal calprotectin (FC) is a valuable biomarker in the assessment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but during the pandemic hospitals reported reduced access to FC testing (Kennedy et. al., 2020). To continue effective management of these patients, the pathway needed to be reviewed and one option was to issue the sample collection device directly to patients.

The BÜHLMANN CALEX® extraction device is designed to simplify sample handling. It provides convenient, hygienic, and safe sample collection, and provides a quality, ready extracted sample for analysis in the clinic. By moving the extraction process to patients, strides can be taken to improve efficiency and patient care simultaneously. However, fCAL testing can go further. IBDoc® allows IBD-positive patients to monitor their fCAL levels from home; with smart phone integration and clinic access portals, the patient and healthcare provider monitor the results and can act quickly. Feedback published by Jere, et. al. (2021) includes: ‘my son gets very anxious at hospital, so this kit is perfect to keep him happy’; ‘my daughter prefers it as it’s less messy, she’s in control and it’s a more private experience’; and ‘it was easy, I feel more comfortable’. It is clear that with faecal samples, it is possible to review a pathway to improve compliance, access, and patient satisfaction without compromising the performance.


Underpinning innovation in healthcare, is a robust logistics network: engaging with patients, home-testing kits, and distribution of products all depend on efficient logistics. With the ShuttlePouch™(manufactured by Shuttlepac™), a sample transport pouch, winning the UK Packaging Awards 2021, home-sampling and testing is in a better position to support pathway development. Easy-to-use, robust, and suitable for use in UN3373 mailing, the ShuttlePouch™ facilitates pathway changes and encourages patient engagement and compliance.


Alpha Laboratories continues to work on improving sustainability through innovation in many working practices. From greener manufacturing and distribution, to supporting local schools and community projects, Alpha is keen to continue on the path of a more sustainable healthcare supply network.

News & Analysis

by Lottie Tudor