Molecular Diagnostics

Skip to articles

Molecular diagnostics is a technique used to analyze biological markers in an individual’s genetic code and how their cells express their genes as proteins, by applying molecular biology to medical testing. The technique is used to diagnose and monitor disease, detect risk, and decide which therapies will work best for individual patients.

These tests are useful in a range of medical specialties, including infectious disease — the largest driver of molecular diagnostics –- oncology, human leukocyte antigen typing (which investigates and predicts immune function), coagulation, and pharmacogenomics — the genetic prediction of which drugs will work best. They overlap with clinical chemistry (medical tests on bodily fluids).

By analyzing the specifics of the patient and their disease, molecular diagnostics offers the prospect of personalized medicine. Technological advances in diagnostics, particularly in the area of personalized medicine, are changing the structure of the diagnostics industry, according to a report by ARCA Biopharma Inc., a Colorado-based biopharmaceutical company. New technology is expanding applications and driving continued growth in the specialized testing market, the report says.

This has led to a shortage of medical technologists (MTs) and clinical laboratory scientists (CLSes). Hospital laboratories and pathology groups have been urged to take the increased competition for scarce medical laboratory workers as a signal that competition for MTs and CLSes from private sector companies will only increase in coming years. Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers will have to rethink the strategies their medical labs use to recruit, hire, and retain medical technologists and clinical laboratory scientists.

At the same time, pathologists and researchers foresee a huge development opportunity for biomarker-based molecular diagnostics in support of translational medicine. Rapid developments in that field – the practice of improving the health of individuals and the community through applying new knowledge into diagnostic tools including medical laboratory tests, medicines, procedures, policies, and education – include a role for pathologists who are discovering and validating molecular biomarkers associated with diseases.

Pathologists Can Offer ‘Companion Informatics’

CEO SUMMARY: Community hospitals are recognizing increased interest in personalized medicine among consumers. One expert predicts that this will create opportunities for hospital labs and pathology groups to add value by offering subspecialty expertise in molecular diagnostics, genetic testing, and “companion informatics.” At the University of Louisville School of Medicine, the Department of Pathology and

Read More

CDC, Public Health Labs Added Flu Test Capacity

CEO SUMMARY: Discovery of the A/H1N1 strain of influenza made it imperative that public health laboratories in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and other countries have more molecular testing capacity and capabilities in support of efforts to track and control the outbreak. Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation, stepped into the breach, upgrading

Read More

Hospital Labs Have New Options for Molecular Dx

CEO SUMMARY: Laboratories that offer molecular assays continue to see strong growth in four areas: oncology, hematopathology, infectious diseases, and personalized medicine. Further, a new generation of molecular testing systems and analyzers is coming to market which will make it easier for even smaller community hospital laboratories to establish and perform molecular tests that are

Read More