How do you manage participants’ confidentiality?
To protect your identity, a code number will be used instead of your name to identify the blood sample when it is sent to laboratories. Your blood sample will be stored for two years for two years at the laboratories in Denver, CO, and in Laval, QC, and then discarded according to the rules and regulations of Simon Fraser University. Your blood sample will not be used for any other tests or research unless additional consent is obtained directly from you. In order to analyze information from the blood test and questionnaire, the data that we collect will be kept by the researchers in identifiable form for a period of five years at which time they will be destroyed.
Although the results of the BeLPT tests of specific individuals are confidential and will not be released to anyone without your permission, the researchers may report whether there are any beryllium-sensitized workers present in their facility for the purpose of preventing exposure and disease. Results generated from your sample may be used in scientific publications but your name or other identifiable references to you will never be mentioned.
What does the blood test (BeLPT) tell me?
The beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT) can detect whether you are sensitized to beryllium. While further medical examinations are required to diagnose CBD, the BeLPT is a useful tool to distinguish CBD from sarcoidosis.
For the BeLPT, disease-fighting blood cells that are normally found in the body (lymphocytes) are separated from other blood cells and examined in the laboratory. Beryllium and other chemicals are added to a small number of these lymphocytes. If the lymphocytes react to the beryllium, the test results are "abnormal". If they don't react to beryllium, the test is "normal". Experts believe that the BeLPT shows "abnormal" results in people who have become "sensitized" or "allergic" to beryllium. As with other medical tests, the BeLPT sometimes provides results that aren't clearly "normal" or "abnormal". The laboratory calls these results "uninterpretable" or "borderline". If you have an "uninterpretable" or "borderline" test result, you will be asked to provide another blood sample so the test can be repeated.
What do I do if my BeLPT result is “abnormal”?
If you have one or more "abnormal" BeLPT results, additional medical testing is recommended to check for CBD. We will give you information on how to obtain further medical tests to find out if you have CBD. You can decide whether or not to have these additional tests. You will also be given information on how to file a workers' compensation claim.
Could an abnormal BeLPT affect my work with beryllium in the future?
If you are found to have a consistently abnormal BeLPT or to have CBD, it is advisable to stay away from environments where beryllium may be present. Therefore, you should consider how this advice might affect your future employment decisions.
If my BeLPT result shows that I am not sensitized to beryllium, is my testing finished?
A few people who have normal test results are found to have abnormal results on later tests. Studies have shown that an individual who is no longer working with beryllium and no longer exposed to beryllium may develop sensitization many years later. If we are able to confirm you were exposed to beryllium, we may recommend that you have the BeLPT about every three years, even if your test result is normal now.
If your BeLPT is "normal", but you have other symptoms of CBD, we may recommend more medical testing. This program will assist you, in concert with your regular doctor, with a referral to a specialist for further testing.
How is CBD treated?
Treatments for CBD depend on the severity of the disease. People with early stages of CBD may not need any treatments, and others with further disease development may be treated with steroids. Patient with severe CBD cases may need oxygen therapy to support their lung function. Although medication can be used to minimize the lung damage that CBD can cause and slow progression of the disease, CBD is not a curable disease at the present time.