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Focus on Hematology/Oncology

There is no specialty of medicine that remains unaffected by recent dramatic advances in genetics. However, arguably the field that stands to gain the most from new genetic technologies and knowledge is oncology. This is perhaps not surprising given the fact that at the cellular level, cancer is a genetic disease and that oncologists have been at the forefront of approaching disease at the molecular and mechanistic level for many years.

Now, modern oncology is being transformed by the ability to sequence tumor genomes and to identify those mutations that drive growth and which may be susceptible to specific pharmacologic intervention. Indeed, genetic and genomic testing are playing an ever-increasing role in the evaluation and management of patients with cancer. Yet, the implementation of such testing can be confusing for practitioners who are trained in other specialties.

Genetics in Medicine (GIM), the official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, is a valuable resource for those seeking to use these new tools in the clinic and is at the forefront of the application of new genomic knowledge and technology to oncology. Over the past year, important articles of great relevance to oncologists and their patients have been published in GIM, spanning the spectrum from rare cancers to common malignancies such as breast and colon cancer. The editors have compiled the most pertinent articles to highlight a few that will be most useful for busy practitioners in the field of oncology. GIM offers tremendous utility as oncologists seek to navigate the increasingly vital-but sometimes confusing-world of genomics in order to understand their field at a deeper level and render the best possible care to their patients.