The QC mark quality assessment scheme provides fully comprehensive service consisting of
- Assessment of tests of immunohistochemical stains on QC mark multitissue block sections as indicated in Assessment method below.
- A general review of each assessment run on the website www.QcMark.org including:
- Photos of optimal and insufficient stains with explanations and hints for improvement.
- Recommendations for optimizing staining protocols.
- Examples of complete protocols for optimal staining of each epitope (based on different antibodies and platforms).
- Individual e-mail information including
- Assessment scores for each stain (certificate of participation for proficiency testing)
- Explanation of probable causes of insufficient (borderline or poor) stains
- Recommendations for improvement – tailored guidelines
- E-mail alerts and information about new runs, website updates etc.
- Participant help line by e-mail (email@example.com)
- Workshops and conferences as appropriate.
The aim, policy, accreditation and background of QC mark: See Organization
Important dates and epitopes: See Modules
Enrolment, participant data, and protocol form: See Participation
The General module comprises three annual runs with IHC tests for about 12 different antigens to be detected in formalin fixed paraffin embedded tissues. The antigenic markers are selected to cover a spectrum of commonly used as well as selected special or new markers.
The Breast cancer IHC module comprises three annual runs with IHC tests for HER-2 and Estrogen receptor or Progesterone receptor
Currently all pathology laboratories in India performing immunohistochemistry are invited to participate in the quality assessment of immunostains. The maximum number of participants is 100. If this number is reached, a waiting list will be considered.
Laboratories may apply for enrolment in the general module and/or the breast cancer module as detailed in Participation (New participant).
To enrol for the first time, the laboratory must fill out the electronic form on http://qcmark.org/participation/
Participant data and assessment results are anonymous to all but the QC mark staff. However, in case of optimal results, participant data may appear on recommended protocols, see below, unless they have requested to remain anonymous
The laboratories enrolled are given a unique identification number, which is used for all assessments. All participating laboratories are registered in a password protected database. On the website, the laboratories have direct access to their own data and are solely responsible for keeping names, e-mail addresses, accounting information etc. up-to-date.
By submitting protocols electronically for one or more markers in a run announced, the enrolled laboratory automatically is considered a participant in the scheme for the rest of the year.
Before the start of the new scheme year, all participants get an e-mail alert inviting to continue participation in the following scheme year. Laboratories not submitting protocols for the first run in the annual scheme (deadline usually about , see modules) and not responding to a reminder, will have their participation closed without further notice. It can be reopened by request. Laboratories not submitting protocols for the second and third run in the annual scheme (deadlines usually about , resp.) and not responding to reminders, will have their participation closed without further notice. It can be reopened by request.