The largest part of our department is engaged in activities of diagnostics and provides cytometric cell analyses and cell sorting services, primarily to the St. Anna Children’s Hospital (mainly through LabDia), but also for the Children’s Cancer Research Institute (CCRI) as well as external research institutes (mainly through the FACS Core Unit). The number of applications has increased and now also includes analyses that address spherocytosis and evaluate human sperm fertility. Every year, over 40,000 cytometric cell analyses and more than 2,000 cell sorts are carried out. The main purpose of these is to control the donor/recipient type of the different blood cells using FISH or PCR methods in post allo-transplantation patients. 
Internal quality control mechanisms are in place, which conform to internal standard operating procedures (SOPs) and to JACIE (Joint Accreditation Committee-ISCT & EBMT) guidelines. In addition, we participate in the regular Austrian and German quality control trials, organised by ÖQUASTA (Austrian Society for Quality Assurance and Standardisation of Medical-Diagnostics) and INSTAND (Society for Promotion of Quality Assurance in Medical Laboratories). Our task here is to measure subtypes of blood leukocytes, stem cells, and residual leukocytes in blood products. 

Clinical routine
The second largest area encompasses clinical routine and concerns the manipulation of all cells or blood products that are administered to patients as part of treatment. This takes place under sterile conditions in our GMP laboratory. 
After successful validation, we were able to introduce a new freezing medium for the storage of patient cells. The preparation of MNC for clinical use in extracorporeal photopheresis ("mini ECP") proved successful for treatment of Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in very young patients. All these activities require a valid accreditation under JACIE, which was renewed in November 2008, as well as the certification of the laboratory by the AGES PharmMed, which we were able to renew in May 2010.

Our group aims at developing new tests and methods for routine laboratory or clinical applications. Presently, our research interests are focused primarily on the detection, quantification, and selection of T-cells specific against clinically relevant viruses that can lead to live-threatening complications after blood stem cell transplantation. 

FACS Core Unit
For more detailed information about the Fritsch group and its services please visit the section FACS Core Unit

Selected Publications

Fritsch G, Witt V, Dubovsky J, Matthes S, Peters C, Buchinger P, Printz D, Handgretinger R, Lion T, Gadner H. (1999) Flow cytometric monitoring of hematopoietic reconstitution in myeloablated patients following allogeneic transplantation. Cytotherapy 1 (4):295-309.

Fritsch G, Printz D, Stimpfl M, Dworzak MM, Witt V, Pötschger U, Buchinger P. (1997) Quantitative CD34 analysis: Comparison of methods. Transfusion 37:775-784

Fritsch G, Stimpfl M, Kurz M, Printz D, Buchinger P, Fischmeister G, Höcker P, Gadner H (1996) The composition of CD34 sub populations differs between bone marrow, blood and cord blood. Bone Marrow Transplant 17:169-178

Fritsch G, Buchinger P, Printz D, Fink FM, Mann G, Peters C, Wagner T, Adler A, Gadner H (1993) Rapid discrimination of early CD34+ myeloid progenitors using CD45-RA analysis. Blood 81:2301-2309

Fritsch G, Emminger W, Buchinger P, Printz D, Gadner H (1991) CD34-positive cell proportions in peripheral blood correlate with colony-forming capacity. Exp Hematol 19:1079-1083