'The Rabbit Died!'
Here in the ADVANCE
office today, we got on the topic of outdated laboratory practices. From mouth pipetting (shudder!), to smoking and even eating lunch at the bench, we've heard some crazy stories from our readers about how things used to be.
As we discuss growing trends in laboratory medicine, it's easy to see technology growing smarter, faster, better-and increasingly, more specific.
Cancer has come a long way from a positive or negative diagnosis. We've surpassed early staging and prognosis capabilities, and are moving into companion diagnostics to see which medicines will work best, genetic testing to learn about family risk, and blood tests that can detect a tumor's origin and predict metastases. Instead of treating cancer, physicians can treat the patient, and their particular disease, based on a myriad of tests and outcomes based on new laboratory technology.
As the technology grows, patients are becoming more educated and more demanding when it comes to laboratory testing. Take pregnancy testing, for example. Today's woman is armed with over the counter products from ovulation indicators to early response tests that can detect pregnancy just a few weeks after conception. Go back a few decades, and pregnancy was confirmed by ovarian changes in a rabbit injected with the patient's urine. Contrary to popular belief, the rabbit did not only die if the test was positive (http://www.snopes.com/pregnant/rabbit.asp).
It's remarkable to look at laboratory testing in a "then and now" perspective. How long have you been in the field? Whether it's 40 years or 4, I'm sure you've seen some incredible innovations and changes in the way things are performed. Share your stories of change below, we'd love to hear them!