National Oncology Biochemistry Reference Laboratory

About Us

The NOBRL is located in the National Public Health Laboratories complex. The NPHL is located in Kenyatta National Hospital grounds off Ngong road, in Nairobi, Kenya. The laboratory was set up in November 2013 in order to address the rising burden of cancer and other non-communicable diseases.

Key Functions

The National Oncology Biochemistry Reference Laboratory provides specialized tests on referral basis relevant to non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) screening, diagnosis and surveillance to physicians, health care providers, and epidemiologists for the benefit of the patient and population.


NOBRL comprises three (3) sections

  1. Special chemistry:-where procedures are done on the Abbott Architect i1000SR platform. The Abbott Architect i1000SR  high throughput machine is a two-step immunoassay which determines the presence/ quantities of certain biomolecules in human serum and plasma using Chemiluminescent Microparticle Immunoassay (CMIA)
  2. Biochemistry:- which utilizes Cobas C11 analyser to perform, renal   function tests, liver function tests and lipid profile
  3. The HPV DNA testing: – Testing is done using HC2 technology which is a signal amplified hybridization antibody capture assay that utilizes microplate chemiluminescent detection.

All the sections within the NOBRL are located within one laboratory but on different benches each performing its specific functions.


The samples used for testing are:

  • Blood (serum or plasma)
  • Pap smear
  • Biopsies

Tests Done

  • Tumor markers

National oncology reference laboratory provides testing for various cancer biomarkers (tumor markers) for different types of cancers such as ovarian, colorectal, prostate, breast, hepatocellular carcinoma and pancreatic cancers on the immunoassay platform.

  • Thyroid function tests and reproductive hormones

NOBRL also provides testing for thyroid function and reproductive hormones such as FT3, FT4, TSH, LH, FSH, Estradiol, Progesterone and Testosterone etc.

  • Diabetes diagnosis and monitoring

NOBRL provides diabetes diagnostic and monitoring tests such as random and fasting blood sugar and HBA1c.

  • Biochemistry

NOBRL performs the following biochemical tests: Renal   function tests, liver function tests and lipid profile using fully automated biochemistry analyzer

  • Cancer screening and diagnosis

Cervical cancer screening – NOBRL provides testing for high risk  HPV  which  is the leading  cause of  cervical  cancer  using the HPV DNA  platform and    pap smear .

The laboratory also performs fine needle aspirate for diagnosis of different types of cancers.

Hours of operation

Monday – Friday

Morning: 8.00am-1.00pm

After-noon: 2.00pm-5.00pm

Closed on Public holidays and Weekends

**We remain open when need arises

Media Gallery

Achievements/ Milestones

  1. The laboratory, in collaboration with stakeholders and financial support from EAPHLN project, developed “Integrated cancer screening and surveillance training curriculum for cervical, breast and prostate cancer” to be used to train healthcare workers in the country
  2. The unit also supported postgraduate students in research work whose findings will be shared with the Division once the data is analysed.

Role of the laboratory in the devolved system

The laboratory works closely with other laboratories in the counties which are pilot sites for the EAPHLN project by providing leadership on various aspects such as sample management.

Future Plans

  1. Acquire specialized equipment such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) molecular testing machine for cancer, haematology analyser, auto chemistry analyser and immunohistochemistry analyser
  2. The laboratory is targeting to be accredited in line with the ISO 15189
  3. Upgrade NOBRL test menu to include testing for drugs monitoring, vitamins, urinary iodine Surveys, immunology assays among others