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Northwestern Recognized for Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics

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April 4, 2011

Chicago -

Behind the drape of pathology, lie pathways to diagnosis and detecting recurrence.

Northwestern Medicine’s Anjen Chenn, MD, PhD is one medical professor who loves to see failing grades—that is, he prefers test results that read “negative” versus “positive”. This is large in part because in his role as the pathologist who oversees the Northwestern Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “positive” can signal that a cancer is present or has returned after a period of remission. “When we’re testing for leukemias, for example,” says Chenn, “I want the test results to be negative all of the time.”

Chenn and the team of clinicians working within the Molecular Lab constitute some of medicine’s unsung heroes that don’t often interface with the patients whose lives they ultimately touch. From testing blood samples, oral swabs, bone marrow and other substances, the work of the pathologist behind-the-scenes is as a co-collaborator with other physician specialists who interact with patients outside of the lab. The multidisciplinary analysis and partnership that occurs from the molecular lab to the patient’s bedside, often is what sets the course of therapy and treatment options to address everything from curable infectious diseases to life-threatening cancers.

No wonder Northwestern’s Molecular Diagnostics Lab was recently named a Roche Molecular Center of Excellence (MCOE), a recognition given by the organization bearing the award’s same name. The distinction is awarded to laboratories that have demonstrated commitment to the field of molecular diagnostic testing. Northwestern’s lab was recognized for high standards in certification and management as well as proficiency in clinical collaborations and networking to aid in sharing best practices, technical insights and the exchange of new, emerging ideas for the advancement of the field of molecular testing.

“Our testing is based on the latest research available within the clinical diagnostic arena,” adds Chenn. “We provide initial diagnostic information as well as detect any residual disease that may still be present following treatment. Our wealth of experience in molecular diagnostics ensures expert results and interpretation from the laboratory and pathologist to aid the referring physician in the appropriate diagnosis and clinical management of patients.”

Chenn joined Northwestern’s Molecular Lab over six years ago, tapped from Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Since then, the lab as flourished as one of the most well-run examples in molecular diagnostics. Northwestern provides is a full-service, state-of-the art diagnostic lab that performs over 80,000 tests each year. The laboratory focuses on new diagnostic pathways for individualized molecular testing for personalized treatments in key areas like infectious diseases, genetic and familial disorders, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Such sophisticated methods in testing enable rapid diagnosis for caregivers, serving as an integral component of the high quality patient care provided at Northwestern Memorial.

To inquire about our services or to schedule a doctor’s visit, please visit us online at www.nmh.org.

Media Contact:

Kris Lathan, Director
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Last UpdateJanuary 20, 2012