Full?field hemocytometry. Forty years of progress seen through Clinical and Laboratory Hematology and the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology

Abstract

The extraordinary advances in clinical hematology, biology, and oncology in the last decades would not have been possible without discovering how to identify and count the cells circulating in the blood. For centuries, scientists have used slides, counting chambers (hemocytometers), and diluting and staining solutions for this task. Then, automated hemocytometry began. This science, now linked to the daily routine of laboratory hematology, has completed an overwhelming path over a few decades. Our laboratories today operate with versatile multiparameter systems, ranging from complex single-channel instruments to bulky continuous flow machines. In terms of clinical information obtained from a simple routine blood test, the full exploitation of their potential depends on the operators' imagination and courage. A comprehensive review of the scientific publications that have accompanied the development of hemocytometry from the 1950s to today would require entire volumes. More than seven hundred contributions that authors worldwide have published in Clinical and Laboratory Haematology until 2007 and then the International Journal of Laboratory Hematology are summarized. Such journals have represented and hopefully will continue to represent the privileged place of welcome for future scientific research in hemocytometry. Improved technologies, attention to quality, new reagents and electronics, information technology, and scientist talent ensure a more profound and deeper knowledge of cell properties: current laboratory devices measure and count even minor immature or pathological cell subpopulations. Full-field hemocytometry includes the analysis of nonhematic fluids, digital adds to the microscope, and the development of effective point-of-care devices.