This area of activity is devoted to microscopic tissue study. The specimens analyzed by the CPD include biopsies and surgical parts, collected and forwarded by HUG or private practice clinicians.
In the first instance, surgical parts require detailed macroscopic analysis, which allows specimens to be collected, which will then be used for histological analysis. These various specimens then undergo technical procedures in the histology laboratories. The pathologist responsible for the clinical case may request additional procedures as needed, such as special colorings, an immunohistochemical study, an electron microscope analysis or molecular pathology tests.
The CPD performs adult, pediatric and fetal autopsies based on requests from HUG medical divisions, medical managers from private clinics or public medical/social facilities in the Geneva Canton, or from families.
Medical autopsies deal with a number of key matters, such as the cause of death, precise documentation of the status of a disease, the consequences of medical or surgical treatment, the characterisation of a syndrome and/or genetics related disorder with respect to the fetus. It participates in the quality control processes of our institution.
Cytology consists of the analysis of cells contained in various biological fluids (ascites, pleural effusion, urine, etc.) derived from gynecological swabbing or fine-needle punctures and aspirations.
The complete cytological analysis service offered by the CPD includes the technical processing and interpretation of all types of cytological specimens, as well as direct assistance with fine-needle punctures performed by various HUG clinicians via the quick preparation of slides combined with immediate on-site reading and diagnosis (ROSE “Rapid On-Site Evaluation”).
Flow cytometry (FC) is a laboratory technique used to pass particles, molecules or cells at high speed through a laser beam and count and describe them. The light they emit (by diffusion or fluorescence) serves to classify cell populations using a number of criteria, and to sort them. The FC laboratory at the CPD also uses this technique for the functional study of healthy cells and to reveal the pathological nature of the cells analyzed. FC is used for diagnostic analysis or therapeutic monitoring of the various hematological pathologies (e.g., acute and chronic leukemia and lymphomas). In oncology, the detection of pathological cells is the most common application. In immunology, FC is used to detect or identify sub-types of the cells involved in the immunity.
Molecular pathology analyses provide information for the diagnosis and prognosis of certain diseases and on predictive factors for treatment response via the analysis of proteins and nucleic acids.
These molecules can be detected on slides (using methods of immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization); nucleic acids can also be derived from biopsies, cytopunctures and other specimens in order to provide an analysis of their sequence to search for mutations, DNA or RNA quantification, or an analysis to detect microorganisms.