Timely topics: 2011-2012

Nov. 1, 2011

Reflecting on the Cover Story of this November 2011 issue of MLO, I am struck by how many of the topics we feature would have meant nothing to readers of the magazine when it began back in 1969—or, for that matter, ten or twenty or thirty years later. Medical laboratory technology is an ever-changing field, and laboratorians are constantly confronted by new concepts, technologies, and challenges. For that reason, continuing education, while important in most fields, is crucial in medical technology. Your colleagues in the healthcare system, and the patients you ultimately serve, demand that you grow continually in knowledge, skill, and expertise. That's why MLO provides a P.A.C.E.-accredited Continuing Education (CE) article/test in each issue, found this month on pages 20-21.

Molecular diagnostics, our cover and CE topic this month, is a dramatic new frontier that is still in its infancy—but its clinical, regulatory, and even social implications are already being felt and explored. The three articles that make up the cover story section—”Delivering the promise of personalized medicine diagnostics”; “Molecular diagnostics is a game changer for hospital labs”; and “Bridging the gap from bench to bedside: optimizing molecular diagnostics”—explore the subject from distinctly different viewpoints, but all are highly relevant to laboratorians and to everyone involved in this extraordinary medical breakthrough.

Our “Clinical Issues” topic, the evolution of HIV testing during the last quarter century, is also linked, sadly, to a subject that earlier generations could not have foreseen. But the thrust of Dr. Jeffrey D. Klausner and Jenny K. Cohen's article is a hopeful one: HIV immunoassays have advanced in their efficiency and their utility at a remarkable pace since the first tests to detect antibodies to HIV were performed in the mid-1980s. By making use of the methods of molecular diagnostics and genomics, researchers have developed tests to treat as well as diagnose HIV, including assays that measure the efficacy of antiviral drugs in combating AIDS in individual patients. “Personalized medicine” is doing its part in the ongoing effort to transform AIDS from a terminal to a controllable disease.

At MLO, we are committed to providing laboratorians and all who read the magazine with topics that are as timely as they are useful. The planned Cover Stories for the upcoming year of 2012, from January through December, demonstrate this: Month by month, here is what is coming up:

  • January: Blood Banking and Transfusion
  • February: Pregnancy & Prenatal Testing PLUS Newborn Testing
  • March: Drugs-of-Abuse Testing
  • April: Cytology: The Impact of Molecular Techniques
  • May: Hematology
  • June: Diabetes PLUS Hemoglobin A1C
  • July: Women's Health PLUS HPV
  • August: Laboratory Information Systems
  • September: Flu/Respiratory PLUS Immunodiagnostics: Antigen vs. Molecular
  • October: Urinalysis
  • November: HIV
  • December: Biomarkers: Autoimmune Diseases and Arthritis

Timely and relevant topics are to be found across the columns of our editorial calendar Hemoglobinopathies, Phlebotomy, Cancer, Chemistry, Hepatitis, and more are among the Clinical Issues we will cover. Our Lab Management features will include Inspections, Sepsis, Reagents, Analyzers, High-throughput DNA, and HAIs/MRSA. Our Future Buzz articles will look ahead at Genetic Disease; Genomics, Proteomics, Cytomics, and Genetics; Nucleic-acid Testing; Alzheimer's Blood Tests; and Genetic Testing to Prevent Future Diseases—and that is just a sampling.

Our goal in 2012 will continue to be to provide laboratorians of all specialties and from all lab environments a continuing resource that will be informative, peer-reviewed, and useful. And as always, we welcome—and invite—your feedback.