Beth Israel Pathologists Press for Personalized Medicine Training

| July 8, 2010

Leading pathologists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School are among those advocating for making genomic and personalized medicine training part of all pathology residency training programs in North America over the next two years, according to “A Call to Action” published in the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology.

“No field of medicine has really taken this on, but there is a clear need for pathology to be out in front of this type of analysis in medical practice,” said Jeffrey Saffitz, M.D., Ph.D., BIDMC’s chief of pathology.

The suggested training curriculum would be modeled on that offered by the Genomic Medicine Initiative (GMI), which was launched by the BIDMC pathology department in 2009. “By July 2012, we want every pathology training program in the United States and Canada to have this program in place,” said Saffitz, adding that GMI officials have had discussions with CAP leaders about developing standards, as well as a funding model, for these programs. 

The curriculum includes lectures on current genomic testing technology, including next generation sequencing, as well as analyzing what the results mean—both for patients and other medical providers. Pathology residents also have the opportunity to analyze their own genome.

An important component of the training program is to understand what current genomic technology can offer in terms of information. “We want the residents to have a clear sense of what the current limits of this testing are, even though this is changing daily,” said Saffitz. “But overall, the goal of the training is to demystify personalized and genomic medicine to our residents.”

Category: Pathology News

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  1. Ed Uthman says:

    I suspect that 90% of “personalized medicine” will turn out to be hype, driven predominantly by profit motive. That leaves 10% that may be actually valuable, and only time will sort out _which_ 10%. The winnowing process will only be slowed by our bought-and-paid-for intellectual property laws, which will keep all the scientific details out of sight in the proprietary domain, where they cannot be reviewed or reproduced. The biotech corporations will say, “trust me,” and of course we will, because that’s how we roll.