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The C-7M Coombs centrifuge

Automating antibody detection

Technical file

Innovation leader: Víctor Grífols i Lucas

Year: 1966

Period: The American influence (1960-1994)

Type of innovation: Technical device

Scope: Clinical analysis

Patent: Yes

Geographical reach: International

Economic impact:  2-Medium

Level of innovation:  1-Disruptive

Interdisciplinary connections: -

Related innovations: Microcetrifuge

At Gri-Cel, one of Grifols' companies, Víctor Grífols began to manufacture increasingly complex devices to solve the different needs that were arising in laboratories.

On one of his trips to the United States he told Dr. Guillermo Anido, who worked at a partner company at the time, Dade Reagents, that there was a need to create a centrifuge that would automate the Coombs test, consisting of a blood test that detects the presence of antibodies in the serum of the recipient.

 

Detecting dangerous antibodies

This important blood test detects the presence of antibodies in the recipient's serum that react with the donor's red blood cells, making the blood transfusion risky. The idea excited Anido, who joked about giving Víctor Grífols and his wife a trip to the United States if he could make such a device work.

Víctor took up the challenge immediately. He designed a prototype that allowed sample tubes to be placed at an angle with respect to the axis of the motor. Once the samples had been centrifuged, they were placed vertically so that the liquid could drain. In this way, any sediments could accumulate in the bottom of the test tubes.

 

A big success worldwide

The Coombs centrifuge was built, patented and commercialized at Dade Reagents under the name of Centrifuge C-7M. The product was a great global success for many years. In the United States many units were sold because it greatly facilitated the analytical work of any medical laboratory.

 

 

Making testing quicker, and transfusions safer.

 

Bibliography

  • Grífols-Lucas, V. (2009). Amb un suro i un cordill. Vivències d'un empresari de postguerra. Barcelona: Grífols Group, S.A.
  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Coombs' test, direct (direct antiglobulin test) – serum. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2013:380-381.
  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ. Coombs' test, indirect (indirect antiglobulin test) – serum. In: Chernecky CC, Berger BJ, eds. Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2013:382.
  • Avellà, R., & Miquel, B. (Eds.). (2015). Cuando un sueño se cumple. Crónica ilustrada de 75 años de Grifols . Barcelona: Grupo Grifols S.A.
  • J. Wesley Alexander, Robert A. Good. Principios de Inmunología clínica.