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August 1995

Exploring Molecular Biology: An Older Surgeon Looks at a New Universe

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(8):811-816. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430080013001

The rapidity and the magnitude of progress in molecular biology slipped by many of us practicing surgeons. Although articles about molecular medicine appear regularly in our surgical literature, for many of us, their content is rather mysterious. The articles often end with a glossary, because most readers do not understand the language. In November 1993, the entire issue of the Archives of Surgery was devoted to molecular medicine. In an editorial,1 Claude Organ, Jr, MD, a member of this association, encouraged the surgeon to "cohabit" with the molecular scientist. Many university departments of surgery have professors who are both surgeons and molecular biologists. Ed Passaro, MD, also a member of this association, observed in 1992 that most surgeons had overlooked this new field and needed to learn about it to play a role in applying it to clinical medicine.2 That means knowing what new tests and treatments are