Powerful, fast-moving trends are propelling pathology and radiology toward personalized medicine

February 11, 2009

It is no exaggeration to characterize the advances in molecular technologies as a huge “molecular asteroid” on a target path to smash Planet Pathology and Planet Radiology. That is the collective wisdom shared by experts speaking here in Philadelphia yesterday and today at the second annual Molecular Summit on In Vivo and In Vitro Integration.

This important conference, produced by The Dark Report, is the only global event which brings together innovators in the fields of molecular imaging, molecular diagnostics, and health informatics to share their progress on establishing integrated diagnostic and therapeutic services for clinicians and patients. Yesterday’s podium fireworks offered attendees impressive insights on the current level of molecular transformation underway in molecular imaging and molecular diagnostics-along with a impressive consensus on the future for these diagnostic areas.

For example, keynote speaker George Poste, DVM, Ph.D., Chief Scientist and Director of The Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University, laid out a compelling argument that personalized medicine is an unstoppable trend. Poste, a leading international expert on biomarkers, declared that multi-modality diagnostics will play an essential role in how healthcare evolves toward a pro-active healthcare system organized to serve the needs of personalized medicine.

Of particular interest to pathologists and laboratory professionals, Poste characterized the field of diagnostics as rapidly organizing around multiplex, automated, miniaturized assays, amid plenty of chaos as new science and technologies upset long-standing practices in laboratory medicine. He illustrated this chaos by noting that “there are approximately 157,000 biomarkers in the literature with some claim of validity. These biomarkers were developed mainly in academic settings and are supported mostly by anecdotal evidence.”

Throughout the day, experts at the Molecular Summit podium stressed several common themes about how molecular imaging and molecular diagnostics is transforming. These are valuable insights for the many pathologists and radiologists who work in community hospital settings and don’t often have the opportunity to participate in conferences such the Molecular Summit on In Vivo and In Vitro Integration:

* Personalized medicine is already happening. It is not an idea, but is now an active trend in the American healthcare system.
* There will be swift progress to move away from single-analyte assays (such as potassium and chloride) and single biomarker tests (such as HER2/Neu) in favor of multi-analyte assays. Microarrays with their tens of thousands of data points are just one example of how diagnostics is incorporating huge amounts of measurement points.
* Multi-modality disease assessment will become the norm. Molecular imaging, molecular diagnostics, and other relevant clinical data sets will be pulled together and assessed. Diagnosticians will then provide an integrated answer to the clinicians. This integrated answer will address diagnosis, therapeutic options, and patient monitoring.
* In anatomic pathology, technology will make it possible to extract quantitative data from specimens. The technology will reduce human variability in assessment of the specimen and will provide richer information for diagnosis, to guide therapeutic decisions, and patient monitoring.

Dark Daily will provide more insights from this Molecular Summit, which continues through the end of today. As noted above, there is strong consensus among the speakers that a transformation of diagnostic services is underway. Such a consensus among numerous experts in molecular imaging, molecular diagnostics, and health informatics is, by itself, confirmation that a major trend is unfolding.

Armed with this understanding, it explains why the metaphor of a huge molecular asteroid striking Planet Pathology and Planet Pathology is apt. Look for additional intelligence about the presentations and insights emerging from this year’s Molecular Summit!

Your Dark Daily Editor,

Robert L. Michel

Related Information:

2009 Molecular Summit on In Vivo and In Vitro Integration