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Training the next generation of cancer pathologists

Over the last decade there has been exponential growth in our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer. This is being driven by technical advances across a broad range of disciplines, including genomics, structural biology, cell signaling, nanotechnology, imaging, and computational biology.

Because this knowledge is now being linked to the application of molecular-targeted therapeutics, there is an urgent to develop a diagnostic process based on the analysis of tumor tissue that can guide the selection of specific agents and monitor treatment response in individual cancer patients. Pathologists play a critical role in this process, as they have the necessary training to recognize the abnormal changes that occur in tissue during cancer progression and can therefore bridge basic and clinical sciences.

Given this changing landscape, the Terry Fox Research Institute Cancer Research Training Program for Clinician-Scientists in Molecular Oncologic Pathology is recruiting promising young pathologists in centres across Canada to provide them with the necessary molecular pathology expertise and research training to function effectively in the areas of translational research, clinical implementation, and mentorship.

The program, which is led by Dr. Ming Tsao Sound (Ontario Cancer Institute) and Dr. David Huntsman (BC Cancer), is providing the necessary funding to train six young pathologists in BC and Ontario, with the goal of helping to develop and standardize molecular diagnosis for personalized cancer therapy.