About Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Inc. (CPL) has served the medical community for more than 70 years and continues to offer the highest quality laboratory services dedicated to the individual needs of practitioners and their patients. More than 1,900 employees work at our 100,000 square foot main laboratory facility and at our regional laboratory operations located across the Southwest. 

Clinical Pathology Laboratories (CPL) was founded by Dr. Charles Pelphrey, the first formally trained, certified pathologist to serve the Austin medical community. Prior to May 1, 1948, no professional laboratories existed in Austin; if physicians in Austin needed a laboratory test on their patient, they had to do it themselves. Dr. Pelphrey introduced Rh typing and prothrombin times, established a Blood and Tissue Center with other clinicians, SGOT testing, flame photometry, Pap smear test (Central Texas), frozen sections in histology and next day turn-around-time for histology. Shortly after, in 1949, Dr. Phillip Flynn joined Dr. Pelphrey’s practice.

Dr. J.R. Rainey and Dr. Thomas G. Price joined CPL for a total of four pathologists and the laboratory formally adopted the name, Clinical Pathology Laboratories. CPL moved to a state-of-the-art, 4,000 square foot facility in the Medical Arts Square. It offered tissue pathology, BMRs, NPNs, and syphilis testing, as well as new tests like bilirubin, pregnancy testing (using rabbits), uric acid levels and PAP smears.

The laboratory continued to grow. CPL expanded across the street to 920 East 26th Street with an additional 2,500 square feet. In this decade four additional pathologists joined the group.

CPL acquired 918 E 32nd Street, an additional 4,000 square feet of laboratory space where clinical lab testing was performed.

Seven pathologists joined in this decade bringing with them a wide spectrum of specialty expertise. CPL pathologists directed the hospital laboratories of St. David’s Medical Center, Seton Medical Center, Seton Northwest Hospital and Round Rock Hospital. CPL elected to subcontract part of its clinical laboratory operation to International Clinical Pathology Laboratories (ICL). Combined efforts fueled continued growth and expanded services.

CPL assumed all control over all aspects of its laboratory services. CPL grew steadily to serve most of the population centers in the state of Texas, including San Marcos, San Antonio, Kerrville, Dallas and Houston by the end of this decade. The clinical and anatomical laboratories were brought together and moved to 8613 Cross Park Drive, a 27,000 square foot facility to accommodate modern laboratory automation and computerization.

CPL finished the construction of a brand new 60,000 square foot central testing laboratory in Austin at 9200 Wall Street. Continued growth and expansion increased the laboratory to over 100,000 square feet.

CPL began offering laboratory services to the physicians of Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

CPL became part of the Sonic Healthcare federation of laboratories. The shared values and operating philosophies of medical leadership, personalized service to physicians, and a commitment to the highest quality laboratory testing, made this alliance a natural and seamless fit. CPL establishes the largest and one of the first installations of computerized image analysis for liquid-based cytology cervical screening in central Texas. Using the Hologic ThinPrep Imager system and the Becton-Dickinson FocalPoint GS system, the laboratory offers the highest quality technology to ensure enhanced disease detection in Pap testing with industry leading turn-around-times. In addition, the laboratory develops enhanced testing out of the PAP vial (OOV) for human papillomavirus (HPV), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and vaginal pathogens.

CPL initiates a new building program to add on to the main laboratory facilities. Starting in 2010, the expansion added 30,000 square feet of space originally intended for laboratory and administrative functions. With further development, new technologies and an expanded test menu, the laboratory technical/scientific operation expands into the entire space.

CPL validates the Aperio ScanScope XT whole slide scanner for surgical pathology. Capable of high resolution digitization at high speed, the Aperio system allows quantitative image analysis (QIA) of tumor markers for breast cancer, digital slide consultations and electronic rapid delivery of ancillary immunohistochemistry and histochemistry studies for affiliates and clients in the Southwest as well as anywhere in the US. The Aperio platform adds to the full service immunohistochemistry menu offered on five Roche Benchmark Ultra IHC platforms with more than 130 offered antibodies.

CPL establishes a new analytic chemistry department with implementation of cutting edge methodology including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Developed under a new leadership paradigm, the department validates ultrasensitive heavy metal testing, therapeutic drug monitoring for neuropsychiatric medications, ultrasensitive hormone testing and vitamin assessments.

CPL’s parent organization, Sonic Healthcare USA (SHUSA), creates Sonic Reference Laboratory (SRL) as a development laboratory within a laboratory.  Built around a new leadership program, SRL is established to ensure rapid assay development and implementation, particularly in quickly evolving areas of laboratory medicine. SRL assumes and expands on the analytic chemistry department in addition to an esoteric core laboratory and a molecular laboratory. The molecular laboratory established numerous molecular microbiologic assays in addition to human genetic disease assays such as cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, inherited thrombophilias and cancer. In 2016, SRL adopts the latest next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms.

CPL adopts new platforms and technology in clinical chemistry with the implementation of the Roche cobas modular 8000 systems. Combining c701 and c502 clinical chemistry modules with e602 immunoassay modules, the systems combine industry leading precision and sensitivity with a laboratory administered Data Innovations (DI) middleware to ensure unparalleled turn-around-time and accuracy. 

CPL establishes a collaborative project between Sysmex, Siemens Healthcare and Inpeco to validate and implement a unique automated hematology workcell. Using the Sysmex XN analyzer and Inpeco robotics, the system incorporates automated specimen loading, transport and buffering as the tubes are conveyed among hematology, sedimentation rate and hemoglobin A1c analyzers. As designed, the system accommodates growth to include more analyzers with full traceability and no manual handling. In addition, the CellaVision system provides digitization, computer-assisted image analysis and electronically accessible files to enhance the accuracy and productivity of the classic peripheral blood film examination. 

CPL acquires CPL Southeast and expands its laboratory services to the physicians of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

With growth in its analytic offerings and a growing demand for new assay validations, SRL moves offsite to a new purpose-built facility in Round Rock, TX. With additional space, CPL repatriates and expands on the heavy metal testing facility and establishes a new paradigm in microbiology. The program includes three WASP Walkaway Specimen Processing robots to automate specimen plating and Bruker Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time of Flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) for organism identification. This technology uses biomolecule fingerprinting for bacterial, fungal and other organism identification to ensure the highest diagnostic accuracy with turn-around-time shortened by hours to more than a day. On May 1st, 2018, CPL celebrated 70 years serving the medical community and offering the highest quality laboratory services dedicated to the individual needs of health care providers and their patients. CPL serves all segments of the medical and laboratory testing community and its challenging needs. CPL has much to proudly look back upon as well as a glorious future.