We have a new blog series that features each of our lab partners so that you can get to know them better! Next up is ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies! We had a great conversation with Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD, CCN, Founder, CEO, and Lab Director of ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies, to learn more about ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies, how they started, and the technology behind their tests.
Introducing ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies!
Hello, Dr. Jaffe! It is great to chat with you! What led you to functional medicine and to start ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies?
I started as a conventionally trained MD, PhD, conducting research at NIH. My path to functional medicine started with skepticism. I had actually set out to debunk many of the modalities like acupuncture, meditation, etc. I sought out masters and studied under them. I ultimately confirmed and now embrace these practices as vital to sustained health and well-being. I confirmed you are what you EAT, DRINK, THINK, and DO.
I developed the LRA (Lymphocyte Response Assay) because I saw the need for a better tool that would provide healthcare practitioners with a more complete picture of their clients' delayed immune reactions. I knew that only direct observation of live lymphocytes would provide the window into the immune system that we needed. I set out to develop methods that would allow us to collect, transport, and process live lymphocytes. These specialized methods are what make LRA cell cultures possible.
I first introduced the LRA test in 1984. The lab had a different name then, but that was the birth of what is now ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies.
What a cool story! Where are y’all located?
Our CLIA-certified lab is located in Sterling, Virginia.
What is your main focus at ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies?
We offer functional tests that identify opportunities to repair and restore immune tolerance through our optional treatment plans and Alkaline Way lifestyle recommendations.
Fantastic! Could you tell us more about the technology you use to do these tests?
The LRA (Lymphocyte Response Assay) tests are ex-vivo cell cultures utilizing the ELISA/ACT method. It is a single-step ELISA technique that we developed that makes LRA tests possible with less than 3% day-to-day variance. The standard 5-step ELISA has 15% - 20% variance.
In the lab, we use the patient's plasma to perform as many as 512 individual tests to identify immune hypersensitivity to common substances. After a three-hour incubation, our Biological Technicians examine the specimens under a microscope to identify each substance that has triggered a lymphocyte reaction. Because we are measuring lymphocyte reaction directly, our test is identifying reactions across all three delayed hypersensitivity pathways (Reactive Antibody, Immune Complex, and T-Cell). Only LRA tests directly measure lymphocytes.
Wow! That is amazing. What are the main conditions practitioners are using your tests to diagnose and treat?
An overburdened immune system can lead to a variety of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. LRA tests are used in these cases to identify opportunities to reduce immune burden and restore immune tolerance. The test and option treatment plan has been shown clinically effective in a broad range of conditions, such as asthma, migraine, IBS, diabetes, and fibromyalgia. We have a collection of case studies featuring some of the more common conditions.
LRA tests are also used as part of a first-line proactive approach to preventing immune dysfunction.
Great! I love that these tests help so many people.
With that in mind, what is your favorite part about being in this industry?
After 4 decades, I am still most rewarded by hearing from patients and practitioners of how the LRA plan has profoundly helped people feel better and regain the quality of life they lost due to immune intolerance.
What is your future vision for functional medicine lab work?
I would like to see a continued shift toward functional tests utilizing predictive goal values rather than simply the conventional "usual lab ranges." We have amazing technology that can be used in proactive, personalized prevention programs to identify and mitigate risks long before the catastrophe of disease presents.
What are you working on right now as a lab? To what do practitioners have to look forward?
We are actively working on several tests, including a functional platelet test. Platelets are important for much more than blood clotting. I will be sharing much more on this topic in the coming months.
We cannot wait to hear about it!
Is there anything else interesting, funny, or noteworthy you would like practitioners to know about your lab?
Over 35+ years and approximately 30 million cell cultures, I am very proud that we consistently find less than 3% variance in split samples. I don't know of any other test of delayed hypersensitivity with such high reproducibility. We also offer the most test items of any delayed hypersensitivity test. While you don't have to test all of the items, it is important to have them available when needed.
That is amazing! I know how important it is to have comprehensive and reproducible tests when analyzing a patient’s condition. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!
These are the most common tests ordered from ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies:
The most common LRA test panels are the combination panels. These include foods, colors, environmental chemicals, and more. It is important to identify immune reaction triggers in foods, but also in other substances like personal care products, which is why we recommend the combination panels.
To learn more about each of these tests visit the Rupa Health Lab Test Catalog and select ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies as the Lab Company. From here you can see the specimen type and more details on each test. If you're a Rupa Practitioner, you can also view the cost of each test.
Not yet a Rupa Practitioner? It’s free to sign up here!