The molecular diagnostics lab is part of the Pathology department. This department maps out the tumor's genetic properties necessary for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options.
A surgeon will take tissue or liquid biopsies, which will then be analyzed at the Pathology department. A pathologist can diagnose you based on the shape, structure, and composition of the tumor tissue and cells. Mutations cannot be detected through microscopic analysis, as it requires the isolation of DNA or RNA from the tumor cells, after which we can analyze them using molecular techniques at the molecular diagnostics lab. The clinical molecular biologists closely collaborate with our pathologists and medical oncologists. Your practicing physician will receive the results of the analysis, so he or she can adapt your treatment plan accordingly.
The development of Molecular Diagnostics
The field of Molecular Diagnostics is currently undergoing rapid developments, thanks in part to innovations leading to (future) personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine. New forms of personalized treatment are constantly being developed: therapies that are only or mainly effective in patients with tumors that show specific genetic properties. Many clinical studies involving molecular diagnostics are currently being done at the Netherlands Cancer Institute to develop new therapies.
Collaboration with DNA diagnostics
The Molecular Diagnostics lab closely collaborates with our DNA diagnostics lab at the Hereditary Cancer Clinic)
and even shares its space and equipment. Analysts (HBO molecular biology), and clinical molecular biologists/molecular geneticists (specialized biologists) work side by side at this lab to diagnose patients and improve cancer treatment.