Bulletin Number 194

Welcome to the April Bulletin. Spring is in the air and so is optimism around the possibility of some return to normal functioning in our work and personal lives. I suspect I am not alone in facing the paradox of feeling exhausted but with undertones of restless energy as we yearn for more certainty.

I am delighted to return to the theme of genomics after we were understandably waylaid by the pandemic. I am particularly grateful to Louise Jones as Chair of the College’s Genomics SAC for rallying around authors for some great updates as part of the ongoing ‘genomics revolution’. We have made some extraordinary strides, but there is so much more that could be achieved with a clear and coherent vision and scope for clinical application of advances supported by an appropriately skilled workforce. The article on DPYD testing strikes a particular chord with the still vivid memory of a close family member succumbing to unexpected fulminant pancytopenia after adjuvant chemotherapy for bowel cancer. So, it is good to see the role of genomics testing in this context translating from research into practice, resulting in more targeted and bespoke patient care.

This issue of the Bulletin continues with an update on various strands of the ‘digital revolution’. Dr Samar Betmouni’s thoughtful and informative review (pp357–359) is a timely reminder of the limited progress to date and the steps needed for planning and monitoring for appropriate deployment of digital pathology into clinical practice. As the use of digital pathology increases we, of course, need to address the challenges of how trainees receive exposure to digital reporting and how these skills are assessed (pp355–356).

The three new College Vice Presidents are now well embedded in their posts. In their articles, we learn more about their backgrounds and their vision and goals in supporting vital functions within aspects of Professionalism, Learning and Communications (pp337–339). They are extremely keen to work with you and hear your views and ideas.

Following the review and disbanding of the England Regional Council, our new English Regional Representatives have been appointed and outline their plans going forward (pp350– 351). Together with the current representatives for the devolved nations, they will be working hard to ensure that regional voices are heard and are part of College discussions and strategies.

The College continues to have a vibrant and essential role in reaching out and engaging the wider public and thereby showcasing the skills and efforts of our varied pathology disciplines. The ability of our members to communicate their expert knowledge effectively to educate families and school and university students on pathology in a fun and engaging way, even during a lockdown, is truly impressive (pp343–344). New resources and accompanying events on Viruses and Vaccines (pp346–347) are particularly timely, reaching out to diverse groups and encouraging the public to explore virology and immunology.

Some of our members contributed to the Sickle Cell Heritage Project within the Black Cultural Archives with some really powerful testimonies and experiences of people living with sickle cell and how research has helped improve treatment and care over the years (p345).

The College Book Club is a new initiative and I was particularly pleased to chair a panel reviewing Nine Pints entailing a lively discussion with the author Rose George. We explored many taboo subjects in relation to blood donation and transfusion from a medical and patient perspective. This attracted over 120 participants from across the globe with really positive feedback.

Finally, I ask you to join me in taking a moment to pause and reflect on our personal loss at the anniversary of the pandemic and also remember others who have recently departed, including His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Professor Sir Peter Lachmann, our past President (pp362–363).