Clients Receive Custom Solutions with USDTL
by Heather Sliwinski – Sales and Marketing Associate
A drug treatment program participant claims they are sober. The program supervisor suspects a relapse. The participant is using an unusual drug of abuse. After hours of grueling research, the supervisor still cannot find a laboratory that tests for the drug, leaving them without options to monitor their participant.
Clients of USDTL run into the same obstacles, but experience different outcomes. We assist our clients by tailoring a monitoring program to meet their specific needs, even if the solution does not yet exist.
Recently, a valuable client contacted USDTL concerning a sevoflurane abuser in their treatment program. The program suspected a relapse, while the participant denied it. The program conducted a search for an organization that offered such a test. Without any success, the administrator contacted USDTL President and Scientific Director Douglas Lewis.
“I had never heard of sevoflurane being abused, so I didn’t know if the gaseous anesthetic would be entirely metabolized and present in a urine sample,” said Lewis. Lewis wanted to research the drug further with his new applications department to see if assay development would even be possible.
Lewis and his team are no strangers to developing new methods after a client inquiry. Vice President Joe Jones remembers developing an array of methods simultaneously for one client.
“At the specific request of a client, we developed, validated and launched 10 assays in about six months,” said Jones. “The standards were hard to find, and after an extensive search to obtain them, we still had to custom synthesize the internal standards.” But Jones kept working when other laboratories would stop, successfully launching the 10 new tests. In this case, the sevoflurane test would not be as tricky.
“After reviewing the literature, I found that sevoflurane is metabolized after use,” said Lewis, “and the metabolite is a common chemical found in a commercial laboratory.”
Once Lewis found the metabolite, hexafluoroisopropanol, he, Jones and Laboratory Director Chuck Plate, who has a doctorate in biochemistry, discussed the methods. Further research indicated that detection was possible using GCFID methodology, handing the reins to the GCFID expert, Chetan Soni, who validated the assay in urine samples within the week.
“The client was very pleased with our timely results,” said Jones. “Their program now has a new tool at its disposal to assist with the recovery of this program participant.”
Within one week of the initial discussion, USDTL researched, developed, validated and launched an assay specific to a client’s needs.
“We are a laboratory business run by laboratory people, not businessmen,” said Lewis. “We have the capacity to get things done. If you run into a problem, just ask. We’ll do our best to see if we can solve it.”
Discuss your specific needs with one of our staff toxicologists at 1-800-235-2367.