Laboratory medicine

Laboratory medicine is a medical specialty involved in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of diseases based on the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids and tissues using the tools of chemistry, immunology, microbiology, haematology and molecular biology.

In other words, laboratory medicine is a specialty which allows us to define health or disease status, patient prognosis and the efficiency of a treatment by measuring a wide range of biological parameters, commonly known as biomarkers.

The role of laboratory medicine for patients management is of utmost importance as it delivers 50 to 70 % of critical medical informations, leading either to the diagnosis of a disease or to an immediate medical intervention, while only representing 2 to 3 % of general health costs in Switzerland.

Given its high cost-effectiveness and its rapid evolution, laboratory medicine is a key player in current healthcare systems, and represents the most promising tool currently available for the future development of precision medicine.

Being at the crossroads between basic science and clinical application, laboratory medicine plays a crucial role in the development of new diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tests and represents therefore one of the pillars of personalized or precision medicine. As such, a treatment with low or moderate efficiency in the general population could be extremely effective if prescribed on a subset of patients selected upon specific biomarkers.

By essence, this specialty represents the analytical counterpart of most clinical medical specialties.

precision medicine