A Short History of Hormone Measurement

  • Michael J. Wheeler
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1065)


Huge changes have occurred in the measurement of hormones over the last 50 years or so. Methods have become simplified, sensitivity has increased manyfold, and automation has allowed the analysis of large number of specimens in a single day. The most significant steps in the history of hormone measurement were the development of radioimmunoassay and later the production of monoclonal antibodies. There has also been increased commercialization, the technique has been applied to an ever-increasing range of substances, and radioactive measurement has been replaced with colorimetric, fluorescent, and chemiluminescent end-points. However, all these changes have not been without their problems. Collaboration between laboratories has seen standardization of reagents and methods, the development of reference methods, and the setting up of external quality assurance schemes. All these have led to improved sensitivity, precision, and reliability. More recently tandem mass spectrometry has brought further improvements in the measurement of certain hormones. Although many hormones are now measured by automated systems there is still a place for manual assays whether developed in-house or by using a commercial kit.

Key words

Radioimmunoassay Immunometric assay Tandem mass spectrometry Automation Monoclonal antibodies’ External quality assurance schemes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Wheeler
    • 1
  1. 1.Consultant Clinical Scientist, The Old DairyExmouthUK

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