The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), the premier global, non-profit organization serving molecular diagnostic professionals, announced its vision for the role of the laboratory professional in the age of genomic sequencing. The article, published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, describes the current and future roles of the laboratory professional as genomic sequencing analysis becomes an ever more increasingly important tool in diagnostic medicine.
Molecular pathology professionals design, perform, and interpret genomic test results to guide clinical management decisions; they benefit society by providing precision patient care. "The activities of the laboratory professional goes way beyond simply 'running a test' and includes development, results interpretation, and clinical consultation," said AMP President, Janina A. Longtine, MD. "It is vital that our professional role in these procedures is recognized by clinicians, policy makers, and the public so that our contribution to the diagnostic process is appropriately utilized and valued."
The paper issues a call for molecular pathology professionals to engage individually and with their professional societies in the rapidly evolving genomic era. "We must be multi-faceted," said Iris Schrijver, MD, AMP past president and first author of the paper. "We have always ensured that our tests are accurate and reliable, but we must increase our involvement with our clinical colleagues, and with professional societies to create practice guidelines and standards. We also need to proactively provide education about our tests and professional services," said Dr. Schrijver.
One key element of AMP's vision is the fact that effective clinical implementation of genome sequencing requires a collaborative approach to patient care. "The massive amount of data from these tests is unprecedented," said Elaine Lyon, PhD, AMP Immediate Past President and co-author of the paper. "Molecular professionals must work with clinicians with diverse expertise to interpret findings in the clinical context of each patient."
Gene sequencing procedures represent a significant milestone for precision medicine; however, "We have much work ahead," said Dr. Longtine, "Realizing the dream of precision medicine will require advances such as validated databases of clinically actionable variants and streamlined bioinformatics, needs that will require resources from the research and health care systems." And the molecular pathology professional is at the center of the effort.
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