What Is Moffitt’s “Precision Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory”?
The Precision Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory carries out analyses of rare substances or molecules through tests that are not performed in a routine clinical laboratory.
For Anthony M. Magliocco, M.D., coming to Moffitt from Canada in the summer of 2012 was like a dream come true.“It’s like paradise,” the pathologist says. But he isn’t necessarily describing the Florida weather.
Dr. Magliocco is referring to his opportunity to conduct exciting, cutting-edge research with the latest equipment that not only extends the pathologist’s knowledge of cancer, but also enables the pathologist to link that knowledge to patient care. At Moffitt, he is using the most advanced genetic testing tools available while contributing to the development of personalized medicine, an approach that strives to match the right patient, with the right drug, at the right time.
The Precision Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory also links to Moffitt Total Cancer Care®, a program in which consenting patients donate samples of their tumor to a vast biobank in order to be matched to clinical trials by the characteristics of their tumor’s genetic profile. The discovery of new biomarkers is among the many challenges that Dr. Magliocco is working on with his team.
The laboratory is CLIA certified, meaning that it conforms to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988, U.S. regulatory standards that apply to all clinical laboratory research testing performed on humans. The CLIA program sets standards and issues certification.
The laboratory, established in July 2012, aims to provide the most advanced genomic diagnostic and testing development available, including a vast array of new and complicated tests to streamline diagnostics and to improve patient care. The laboratory team also is developing clinical biomarkers that can help to identify the right drug for a particular patient or determine if a specific clinical trial is a good match for a patient with a certain tumor gene mutation.
“Through Total Cancer Care we have an enormous cohort of patients who have donated tumor tissues, and that broad biobank allows us to start looking at meaningful differences in tumor genetics,” explains Dr. Magliocco, chair, Anatomic Pathology, and executive director, Precision Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory Services. “Given that information, we can develop new biomarkers and begin to predict whether a treatment will work.”
As well as finding new biomarkers for drug development, among Dr. Magliocco’s research interests are the molecular mechanisms of cancer progression and the development of drug resistance. To that end, he and his colleagues are developing new gene-related tests that are improving the quality and uti