Division of Cytogenetics is directed by Dr. Nyla A. Heerema with assistance from Dr. Frederick Racke. It focuses on cancer cytogenetics. The division performs both classical banded metaphase analyses and multiple fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assays, using various probes and types of tissue specimens. The FISH assays are used to increase the sensitivity of classical cytogenetics, to detect aberrations in non-dividing cells and to detect minimal residual disease. The FISH assays are rapid and provide same or next-day results. High quality classical banded studies, with acceptable turn-around-times, continue to be the primary focus of the division.
Under Dr. Heerema’s leadership the division is an active participant in studies for the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). The division’s work supports risk stratification for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. Dr. Heerema serves as the chairperson for all cytogenetic studies in COG. Dr. Racke also serves on the CALGB Leukemia Biology Committee.