How precise diagnosis of lymphoma offers patients best treatment options

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By Deb Balzer

Lisa Rimsza, M.D., is a pathologist, director of the Molecular Diagnostics Arizona Laboratory and researcher with the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research specializes in lymphoma, with a focus on developing tests for accurate patient diagnoses and assessing disease aggressiveness.

Dr. Rimsza has made significant advances in this field of research. She says having a precise diagnosis allows physicians to provide patients with the best possible treatment. 

Watch this "Mayo Clinic Minute" video to hear Dr. Rimsza discuss her research:

"My lab focuses on lymphoma, which is a group of diseases and cancers that arise from the lymphatic systems," says Dr. Rimsza.

"We specialize in developing new tests to make sure we can get the most accurate diagnosis for the patient, and also figure out whether their disease is likely to be more or less aggressive," she says.

Lisa Rimsza, M.D., in the Mayo Clinic Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

"We've been working with an interesting platform, or technology platform, which actually is able to use the tissue that is most commonly available from patient biopsies when a biopsy is taken out. It's put in formaldehyde and then in paraffin wax," she says. "We've been using a technology that actually is able to work with that tissue and get good information about genes and expression."

Lisa Rimsza, M.D., and team in the Mayo Clinic Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory. Front row, from left: Charlie Kern, Colleen Ramsower and Dr. Rimsza. Back row, from left: Lindsey Armitage, Lee Wisner, Jon Ocal, Katie Zellner.

"It's absolutely important that the patient has the most accurate diagnosis as possible. And what we're doing is going through the most common types of lymphomas, and trying to build a series of assays that will answer several different diagnostic questions," says Dr. Rimsza.

Learn more

Watch this video to learn more about Dr. Rimsza's work.

Learn more about lymphoma and find a clinical trial at Mayo Clinic.

Join the Blood Cancers and Disorders Support Group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community moderated by Mayo Clinic for patients and caregivers.

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A version of this article was originally published on the Mayo Clinic News Network.