College of American Pathologists

  Press Release


Published on November 2, 2012

Contact: Julie Monzo
Phone: 800-323-4040, ext. 7538

New Pathology Tool Demonstrates Pathologists’ Value in Personalized Medicine

Northfield, IL—As health care continues to shift to a value-based marketplace, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has launched a free resource tool to assist pathologists in establishing themselves as leaders in personalized medicine on the patient care team. The new resource, Short Presentations in Emerging Concepts, or SPECS, are short, customizable PowerPoint presentations developed by expert pathologists on emerging topics where molecular tests play a key role in patient management.

“The CAP designed SPECS to help pathologists educate other physicians and health care leaders on the molecular tests that are actionable today,” said Samuel Caughron, MD, FCAP, a pathologist from MAWD Pathology Group, PA, in North Kansas City, Mo., and chair of the CAP SPECS Work Group. “With advances in genomics, pathologists now have a greater understanding of disease at the molecular level. By communicating this information to other clinicians, pathologists are more equipped to demonstrate their critical role on the patient care team, while fostering collaboration among their colleagues.”

The SPECS are updated regularly with reference articles, as well as the latest information on the molecular test featured. Currently, the CAP offers five different SPECS, each on a selected disease:

  • The Workup of Colorectal Cancer
  • Therapeutic Guidance for Metastatic Melanoma
  • The Diagnosis and Workup of Thyroid Cancer
  • The Workup of Polycythemia and Thrombocytehmia: JAK2
  • Colorectal Cancer: Hereditary Non-Polyposis Cancer (Lynch Syndrome)

Pathologists are currently using SPECS for tumor board presentations and grand rounds, as well as during meetings with other clinicians, such as oncologists.

“Recently, I modified the ‘Emerging Concepts in the Workup of Colorectal Cancer’ SPEC and used it at a conference that I led for gastrointestinal (GI) surgeons and pathologists,” said Thomas Brien, MD, FCAP, a pathologist from Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn. “Using the SPEC saved me a tremendous amount of time and was well received by the audience.”

The SPECS were developed by the CAP SPECS Work Group, under the CAP Personalized Healthcare Committee. Work Group members include: Samuel K. Caughron, MD, FCAP, Wen-Chi Foo, MD, FCAP, Jan Nowak, MD, PhD, FCAP, and David Witte, MD, PhD, FCAP. To download one or more SPEC presentations, visit to register and receive your free customizable versions.

The College of American Pathologists (CAP), celebrating 50 years as the gold standard in laboratory accreditation, is a medical society serving more than 18,000 physician members and the global laboratory community. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board-certified pathologists and is the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College advocates accountable, high-quality, and cost-effective patient care.