Pathology was one of the first departments organized at YSM, and has contributed in many ways to Yale’s long tradition of scientific research, teaching, and patient care. Early Yale pathologists were among the first to document the ravages of the 1918 flu pandemic; they also led the investigation of pathologies associated with radiation and burn injuries in atomic bomb victims, and later established Yale as the leading center for research into environmental lung disease.
Recent advances include basic discoveries in mapping the epigenetic basis of tumor progression; novel genetic and epigenetic screening methodologies that promise new methods of detecting occult tumors in the pancreas and colon; new insights into the many ways that tumors achieve their aggressive growth; gene-detection methodologies that have revolutionized our assessment of lymphoproliferative disorders; novel concepts of breast cancer initiation, progression, and diagnosis that are central to guiding therapy for patients with breast cancer; widespread institution of advanced molecular techniques for cervical cancer risk detection, the detection of sexually transmitted infections; and the development of innovative and promising approaches to vaccine development for viral diseases.
Most recently, in collaboration with Yale’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Smilow Cancer Hospital, Pathology has instituted large-scale genotyping of patients with cancer, opening the door to an era of truly personalized cancer therapy. On other fronts, Pathology has expanded several of its subspecialty diagnostic programs as well as its investigative programs into cancer biology and degenerative disease.