The mission of the clinical laboratory at CND Life Sciences—to provide timely and accurate test results that aid in the diagnosis and treatment of patients—may not seem different from that of other labs, but behind this mission you’ll find a unique working environment where the quality of personal interactions and the culture are as important as the quality of the test results.
“I love the people here. There’s a real sense of family, community, and team spirit. Because we are a start-up, there’s a special bond,” says Ronald Paler, MD, Chief Pathologist and Medical Director at CND.
Another unique aspect of the lab, points out Laboratory Operations Director Jimmie Evans, is that while many labs move toward automation, the lab at CND includes many essential, manual processes inherent to the company’s distinct technology. “Our well-honed methods require a different type of employee, one who has great focus and eye-hand coordination. Biopsy samples have a thickness about the width of a hair.”
Evans adds, “We are not the traditional, histology laboratory, by any means. We specialize not only in histology, but immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. Usually, a lab specializes in just one of those areas.”
The lab is staffed by various levels of clinical technicians, all of whom are continually training to sharpen their skills, take on more responsibility, and grow their careers while they help train more junior members of the team. All employees, regardless of their level, are cross trained on all lab processes, which allows the lab to quickly adjust to a sudden influx of work.
“We are creating a culture in the laboratory that’s cutting edge. We don’t do typical lab training, but task-based training, which allows us to quickly create productive employees,” notes Evans. Rather than focusing on learning one task for a time and then moving on to a different skill, new skills are continually added and practiced simultaneously. “Because many of us have had experience in other labs, we’re able to bring the best of what we’ve learned. We know what works,” adds Dr. Paler.
Evans notes that “the culture of the laboratory is patient centric. We are seeking to assist physicians with diagnosing patients in a new and groundbreaking manner by detecting and visualizing pathological markers of disease. We want to help physicians manage treatment as precisely as possible.”
“We’re meeting an unmet medical need, specifically in the area of neurodegenerative diseases and earlier diagnosis,” says Paler. “Our testing affects lives. Almost everyone knows someone who’s been impacted by Parkinson’s disease.”
Dr. Paler highlights that the Syn-One Test® is a powerful test for both clinicians and patients. “The traditional clinical diagnosis of some neurodegenerative disorders is challenging because some of the symptoms can overlap. Our testing, in combination with a clinical evaluation, gives people a more complete picture.”
The Syn-One Test, however, is just the beginning of CND’s diagnostic tool offerings. “We’re going to continue to grow and look beyond our current test offerings. We want to look at other possibilities for testing abnormal proteins that may be seen in other neurodegenerative disorders,” says Paler. “We’re in a unique position to become a cutting-edge lab at the forefront of neurodegenerative testing.”
The lab currently processes a few hundred biopsies a week and is preparing for significant growth over the next 3-5 years. “We are growing rapidly. Demand for the Syn-One Test is increasing, and our staffing needs to reflect that,” says Evans. Both Evans and Paler underscore how much they are looking forward to the completion of CND’s new 36-bench, state-of-the-art lab in Scottsdale, AZ this year. “There has been a commitment from the Board and senior leadership to position the lab for success,” says Evans.
Commenting on the working environment at CND, Dr. Paler says, “CND is an exciting and fun place to work. We have great leadership at the senior level, and when you combine great leadership with dynamic and extraordinary employees, it’s a recipe for great teamwork and success.”