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Pathologists and Laboratory Professionals Demonstrate Scientific Prowess at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hayley Webber, PhD, MB(ASCP)CM, was amazed to see a room full of people who came to see her scientific poster at 7 a.m. on Nov. 2 at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting.    

“People came up to me and said they had seen similar false positive results in their labs,” said Dr. Webber, Technical Director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at NorDx, a small reference laboratory in Scarborough, Maine.

“Residents don’t receive much formal training for communication. There are many lectures on making sure you get the diagnosis correct, but if you’re not sure that what you’re communicating is being understood, all that effort is wasted.”
—Suzanne M. Dintzis, MD, PhD
Winner of the “Best Education—Education Best Practices” category for her poster abstract

Her abstract, “Invasive High-Risk Human Papillomavirus Screening of Gynecologic Specimens: Comparison of the Roche Cobas 4800 With the Hologic Cervista Assays,” won in the “Best Scientific—Molecular Pathology” category. Dr. Webber studied two different methods for HPV high-risk screening. Using specimens from NorDx, she tested nearly 600 samples and observed a nearly 10-percent discrepancy in results between the two methods. She used a third method to screen the discrepant samples.

“We determined that the Roche Cobas 4800 assay had a greater specificity and a greater positive predictive value than our current platform,” she said. “By reducing potentially false positive results, we can reduce unnecessary medical procedures.” 

Overall, ASCP judges selected six winners of the poster and oral abstract presentations at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting.

Suzanne M. Dintzis, MD, PhD, won in the “Best Education—Education Best Practices” category for her study about effective ways to improve pathology residents’ communication skills. Dr. Dintzis and her team from the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, developed interactive instructional sessions, simulated clinician-pathologist interactions, and checklists of 15 to 20 elements for communication performance evaluation. 

“Residents don’t receive much formal training for communication,” said Dr. Dintzis, Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “There are many lectures on making sure you get the diagnosis correct, but if you’re not sure that what you’re communicating is being understood, all that effort is wasted.”

Winner in the “Best Lab Practice—Chemistry” category, Jonathan Genzen, MD, PhD, FASCP, Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital, presented a poster on “Analysis of Vitamin D Send-out Testing at an Academic Medical Center: Understanding Test Utilization and Result Patterns Through Data Mining and Visualization.”

“The incredible send-out volumes for vitamin D assays—more than 65,000 tests over 20 months—made it an ideal target where we could look at both clinical and informatics-oriented questions,” Dr. Genzen said. “We have a much better sense now of the impact of vitamin D testing at our institution and a better understanding of the analytics capabilities of our laboratory information system.”

Jason Cheng, MD, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Hematopathology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Head of the Epigenetic Laboratory in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan, won in the “Best Oral—Hematopathology” category for his study, “Characterizing Epigenetic Patterns and Pharmacologic Responses in Myelodysplastic Neoplasms.”

“Our research is directed at finding biomarkers of myelodysplastic syndromes, which could eventually lead to the development of more effective therapies,” Dr. Cheng said.

David Arps, MD, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, won the “Best Resident—Surgical Pathology” category for his abstract, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma with Lobular Features: A Comparison Study of Tumor Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes to Pure Ductal and Lobular Carcinomas.” 

In the “Best International—Medical Microbiology” category, Robert Hawkins, MBChB, of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore, won for his study, New Roche HIV combi PT Assay Reduces the Number of Old Roche HIV combi-Associated False-Positive Results.

A call will be issued for submission of scientific and lab practice poster abstracts beginning in January 2013. Watch for announcements on www.ascp.org.


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