Our Laboratory

MDC’s clinical laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, and is complete with new generation automated analyzers able to service more than 3000 samples per day. For safety measures and to ensure consistency of our results, all our tests are performed under Biosafety level 2 and some special procedures are even performed under Biosafety level 3 environment which is exclusive in Iraq. We provide our staff with all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure their protection. At MDC we are committed to our community and so rely mainly on local staff, providing them with continuous training internally, locally and abroad.

Our Clinical laboratory unit is comprised of 10 departments; namely and Phlebotomy, Hematology, Clinical chemistry, Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular biology and Genetics, Metabolic disorders, Cytology, and Histopathology . Disciplines offered include: hematology, clinical chemistry, routine diagnostics, microbiology, molecular diagnostics and serology (infectious disease, autoimmune, allergy testing). Besides daily quality control testing internally, all these disciplines at our center are subjected to external quality control via proficiency testing provided by the College of American Pathologists.

Laboratory Units


The Department of Hematology at MDC combines both manual procedures and fully automated systems performed by local technicians under the supervision of our senior hematologist.
Every CBC request is performed using the Sysmex XS 500i 5-part differential hematology analyzer machine and CBC blood film is provided for both normal and abnormal results which are reviewed and reported by our hematologist.

In case of abnormal results, CBC reports are only provided after patient history is fully investigated. All the coagulation test including PT, PTT, TT, fibrinogen, etc. are carried out by fully automated Stago Compact Coagulation Analyzer machine, Hemoglobin electrophoresis, serum protein electrophoresis and urine Electrophoreis are performed using fully automated Minicap Flex Piercing Electrophoresis System by the pioneering company Sebia.

Manual tests performed by our technicians include Coombs test (direct and indirect), bleeding time, ESR, reticulocyte count and others. In addition, we provide different kinds of fluid cell counts and analysis. Our Hematology Department also receives samples for identification of all types of blood parasites (by blood film), including Malaria.

Clinical Chemistry

Our Clinical Chemistry department perform a wide range of clinical chemistry
analysis on serum, plasma, CSF and urine by developed automated clinical chemistry analyzers like the cobas e 411. We take pride in the recent addition of the cobas 6000 analyzer series which can perform immunological, clinical chemistry, hormonal and viral tests simultaneously from a single sample. All our automated analyzers are supported and maintained by Roche, an internationally recognized company.
To make sure our visitors receive the best quality results, all abnormal results are investigated twice and scrutinized by our medical director and, if required, the patient will be contacted.


Our Department of Microbiology is a leading laboratory in our region,
combining both conventional and automated microbiology techniques to ensure high sensitivity and accuracy of all our results. Furthermore, because most microbiological techniques require high level of manual expertise, our local technicians are trained and tested continuously in order to maintain and update their skills.

The Department of Microbiology at MDC is able to perform culture and identification of all types of bacteria, yeast, mold, and mycobacteria. For safety reasons all of these tests are performed in class-II biosafety cabinets. Moreover, for quality control of all our bacteriological media and reagents we use ATCC (American Type Culture Collection) bacterial strains. We use many reagents, machines, equipments and techniques of leading companies in according to most recent WHO guidelines. You can find a small overview of some of our used machines and techniques below.

TB identification and susceptibility testing for first and second line drugs are
performed simultaneously using BD BACTEC MGIT 960 System. MGIT (Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube) is an instrumented growth system. It is a fully automated system detecting positive samples faster than other systems and conventional methods. Other systems and media takes about 4 to 6 weeks to detect growth, whilst MGIT provides result within a few days (Minimum 4 days/Maximum 12 Days). Since this method can recognize the presence of TB Bacilli much more quickly than conventional culture, it can help diagnose and treat the disease at an earlier stage and has the potential to help control the spread of infectious TB. The BACTEC MGIT 960 System uses MGIT media and sensors, making efficient use of advanced fluorometric technology, which permits highly accurate detection of TB without using sharps and radiometric elements. All TB tests at MDC are performed in Biosafety level 3 laboratory..

Blood cultures are performed using Bactec 9240, a fluorogenic, automated,
and noninvasive blood culture system from BD Microbiology System, for high sensitivity and to minimize chances of contamination and manual error. This system offers enhanced safety and simplified operation, it delivers excellent performance, media quality and reliability.

Other anaerobic cultures are performed using Oxoid™ Anaerobic Gas Generating Kit and System. For quick and accurate identification of a broad spectrum of more than 400 of medically important organisms, including anaerobes, coryneform gram-positive bacilli, enterics, nonfermenters, streptococci, and yeast, RapIDTM (Rapid Identification system) from Remel is used at the Department of Microbiology at MDC.

Finally, Concentration Technique and Trichrome Staining are used for accurate identification of all fecal parasites.


The Immunology department at MDC laboratory provides a wide-ranging service for the investigation, diagnosis and treatment of conditions which result from dysfunction of the immune system. The integration of laboratory and clinical services allows us to provide a cutting-edge laboratory testing service which is essential in the diagnosis and monitoring of complex immune diseases. Laboratory investigations include those for immune deficiency, autoimmune disease, allergy, specific proteins, complement testing, cellular immunology, and molecular immunology.

Molecular Biology and Genetics

The molecular biology section offers a range of tests useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression in patients with various haematological malignancies as well as some genotyping tests for coagulopathies, hereditary haemochromatosis and neurological malignancies. Certain genetic mutations confer prognostic outcome and may also be used to direct treatment decisions. For carrier status of inherited thrombophilia or haemochromatosis testing, a family history is useful.

These are all polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based tests that require purified DNA or RNA. This is important for RNA-based tests, as RNA is very fragile. These samples must be received for processing by the laboratory as soon as possible after they are received from the patient. A series of tests are done at our laboratories including Factor V G1691A (Leiden) in thrombophilia, Cyclin D1 over-expression in MCL, TCR-gamma gene rearrangements for T cell clonality, TCR-beta gene rearrangements for T cell clonality, MGMT methylation in gliomas, etc.

Metabolic Disorders

The metabolic disorder section of our laboratory provides services for the diagnosis of lysosomal storage diseases. The department provides screening of urine for glycosaminoglycans, oligosaccharides, sialic acid, sulfated monosaccharide’s, and enzyme studies for the diagnosis of all of the mucopolysaccharidoses. Enzyme studies for diagnosis of selected glycoprotein storage diseases and glycosphingolipidoses are also available, in addition to a metabolic disorder section establishes cell lines from skin biopsies for enzyme studies. The section also provides enzyme and/ or urine glycosaminoglycan studies for the monitoring of patients who have been treated for mucopolysaccharidoses.


The Cytology department provides a wide range of cytopathology services including the routine screening of gynecologic, non-gynecologic specimens and semen analysis (infertility, post-vasectomy and post-reversal).

Clinicians have the choice of two types of liquid-based pap testing: the ThinPrep® Pap Test™ and the SurePath™ liquid-based Pap test. Both tests are processed and screened in our laboratories.  The goal of the Cytology Department is to provide accurate laboratory testing, with a reasonable turnaround time, in a cost-effective manner.


The Histopathology department of our laboratory comprises a consultant-led team providing a comprehensive tissue-based diagnostic service. Histopathology is the microscopic study of organs and tissues to determine if disease may be present and this involves the specialized preparation of pieces of human tissue for viewing under a microscope. Diseases such as inflammatory diseases, benign abnormal growth, infections and cancer are diagnosed by this method.

Biosafety Level 3

To further enhance safety measures, some special procedures are performed under Biosafety level 3, which is exclusive in Iraq. This level is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is done with indigenous or exotic agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease after inhalation. It includes various bacteria, parasites and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans but for which treatments exist, such as Yersinia pestis (causative agent of plague), Francisella tularensis, Leishmania donovani, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Chlamydia psittaci, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, Eastern equine encephalitis virus, SARS coronavirus, Coxiella burnetii, Rift Valley fever virus, Rickettsia rickettsii, several species of Brucella, rabies virus, chikungunya, yellow fever virus, and West Nile virus.

Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these agents. This is considered a neutral or warm zone.

All procedures involving the manipulation of infectious materials are conducted within biological safety cabinets, specially designed hoods, or other physical containment devices, or by personnel wearing appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment. The laboratory has special engineering and design features to strengthen safety measures.

Laboratory Management Team

The Laboratory Departments of MDC are staffed by a professional team of doctors, scientists, technicians using state of the art methods, materials and automated analyzers. Provision of accurate, reliable and timely results alongside detailed interpretation and quality services are the primary goals of the laboratory.

Dr Ranan Polus

Clinical Director 

Mahmood Raza

Laboratory Manager

Laboratory Documents

CAP Accreditation

In order to guarantee our quality and to be recognized as a top performer, we successfully  became the first and only laboratory in Iraq to receive accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) on 14/2/2013. This effectively makes us the only internationally recognized medical center in Iraq and means that all the results issued by our center are accepted by the medical community across the globe.