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Lab Invest. 2012 Jan;92(1):4-8. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2011.147. Epub 2011 Oct 10.

Investigative pathology: leading the post-genomic revolution.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


The completion of the Human Genome Project and the development of genome-based technologies over the past decade have set the stage for a new era of personalized medicine. By all rights, molecularly trained investigative pathologists should be leading this revolution. Singularly well suited for this work, molecular pathologists have the rare ability to wed genomic tools with unique diagnostic skills and tissue-based pathology techniques for integrated diagnosis of human disease. However, the number of pathologists with expertise in genome-based research has remained relatively low due to outdated training methods and a reluctance among some traditional pathologists to embrace new technologies. Moreover, because budding pathologists may not appreciate the vast selection of jobs available to them, they often end up choosing jobs that focus almost entirely on routine diagnosis rather than new frontiers in molecular pathology. This review calls for changes aimed at rectifying these troubling trends to ensure that pathology continues to guide patient care in a post-genomic era.

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