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Molecular pathology: building the backbone of translational research and personalised medicine

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For many years after the discovery of the DNA helix (1953) the impact of molecular biology in the practice of medicine in general, and pathology in particular, was very limited. However, two main developments have accelerated the integration of a molecular dimension to the practice of diagnostic and academic pathology. From a diagnostic point of view, the advert of personalized medicine is moving histopathology operations, traditionally based on tissue phenotype, to embrace a genotypic dimension of routine diagnostics. From an academic perspective, it is increasingly obvious that the promise of translational medicine will only be fulfilled if pathologists are able to channel clinical materials, clinico-pathological information and their own analytical expertise towards research endeavours. This new reality calls for new ways of organizing pathology in diagnostics and research. This lecture will explore some of the necessary structures to achieve these demands, and will provide examples on how this is improving the quality of diagnostics and science and, at the same time, redefine the role of histopathology in modern medicine.

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