Craer, Jennifer R.
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Radioimmunoassay (RIA) is a technique in which researchers use radioactive isotopes as traceable tags to quantify specific biochemical substances from blood samples. Rosalyn Yalow and Solomon Berson developed the method in the 1950s while working at the Bronx Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in New York City, New York. RIA requires small samples of blood, yet it is extremely sensitive to minute quantities of biological molecules within the sample. The use of RIA improved the accuracy of many kinds of medical diagnoses, and it influenced hormone and immune research around the world. Before the RIA was developed, other methods that detected or measured small concentrations of biochemical substances required large samples of blood-- often too large for researchers to collect. With the development of RIA, researchers could use a single drop of blood to detect and measure the concentration of some biochemical substances. By 1970 doctors used RIA to measure follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormones to diagnose and treat infertility in women. Further developments led to neonatal screening programs for hypothyroidism.