Molecular pathology is a relatively new field of medicine that has been incorporated into patient care within the last ten years. With the progress in genomics, molecular pathology has emerged as a means of studying the causes and effects of diseases below the cellular level. The science involves isolating DNA or RNA from patients' blood or tissue samples to more precisely diagnose and classify disease and finding indicators that help chart and predict the course of the illness or condition. Recent developments have also allowed molecular pathologists to determine which treatments or drugs would be more effective for patients.
This type of personalized medicine is available at The Mount Sinai Hospital. As part of our multidisciplinary team approach, our pathologists work behind the scenes to analyze and interpret the results of the molecular testing in order to enable you and your doctor to make a better, even more customized treatment plan.
Cancer and Molecular Pathology
Molecular pathology studies changes that happen in the cells; this is most clinically oriented towards cancer care. Members of the Molecular Pathology team at The Mount Sinai Hospital look at changes that happen in the cancer cells, so that we can better treat patients.
Currently, two of the more common conditions for molecular pathology tests are lung cancer and breast cancer, although the testing is progressing to include a number of other diseases as well, such as HPV in head and neck cancer. For example, by studying a tissue sample taken from a lung tumor, our molecular pathologists are able to assess that one patient with a specific type of lung cancer histology may respond better to an oral drug while another patient will benefit more from chemotherapy, eliminating unnecessary treatments and more effectively utilizing time. We do this by analyzing the changes in cancer cells at multiple levels, ranging from DNA to protein, and testing to see how the cells will respond to certain drugs.
The Department of Pathology at The Mount Sinai Hospital is growing and working to pioneer more research in the field of molecular pathology. As different fields of medicine progress, our molecular pathologists work with their clinical colleagues to develop, execute, and interpret new tests for better patient care. Our training program also works with residents and fellows to teach them the process and further the future of molecular pathology.
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