Two sessions at AACC’s 8th Annual Mass Spectrometry and Separation Sciences for Laboratory Medicine Conference highlight cutting-edge mass spectrometry (MS) applications in toxicology analysis and targeted metabolomic profiling. “Overall, these two sessions provide information for short-term to immediate implementation of new skills in the lab and mid- to long-term strategic plans for mass spectrometry applications in personalized medicine,” conference program chair Yan Victoria Zhang, PhD, DABCC, director of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Clinical Mass Spectrometry and Toxicology lab, told CLN Stat.

AACC President Dennis Dietzen, PhD, DABCC, FADLM, professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, will kick off the session Personalized/Precision Medicine and Metabolomics, with a discussion about targeted metabolomic profiling of maternal-fetal and pediatric pathology. Newborn errors of metabolism is one of the early metabolomics applications of MS, Zhang said. “It was so early that the terminology of metabolomics didn’t even exist when we are already performing this type of assays in the clinical environment. It is also a reflection of personalized medicine,” she added. The session will highlight further developments in pediatric pathology using MS to study metabolomics, as well as new developments in personalized medicine. Labs will learn strategic directions to position themselves for long-term development, Zhang said.

William Clarke, PhD, professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins University will follow Dietzen with a talk on clinical MS for optimizing cancer therapy. Ping Wang, PhD, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University Of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, will wrap up the session by discussing her experience in using MS in metabolomics and therapeutic drug monitoring.

Participants who attend Session 2, Toxicology and Innovative Clinical Practices, will learn about new and practical applications of MS in toxicology—skills they could implement right after the conference, Zhang said. “Toxicology is an area that has a long history with mass spectrometry. However, it continues to be an active field with innovative applications of mass spectrometry,” she summarized.

One of the speakers, Frederick Strathmann, PhD, PhD, MBA, DABCC (CC, TC), vice president of QA, director of new technology and innovation and assistant laboratory director at NMS Labs, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, will discuss how operational management strategies combined with innovative technology could improve the customized toxicology throughput needs of clinical laboratories. “Throughput is a common and multifaceted challenge in any laboratory environment. Numerous approaches to solving workflow inefficiencies while maintaining high quality have been highly effective in the laboratory setting,” Strathmann told CLN Stat.

Strathmann will join Steven Wong, PhD, professor of pathology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, who will expound on rational uses of pharmacometabolomics and pharmacogenomics to manage pain and opioid addiction, and Kenichi Tamama, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, whose talk will cover MS-based detection methods for newly emerging psychoactive drugs.

Clinical labs sometimes miss the boat in using MS for toxicology analyses, Strathmann continued. “Technologies are oftentimes overhyped and applied incorrectly. The initial excitement wanes when reality sets in and a one-size-fits-all solution is not achievable,” he said. His presentation will provide examples of such misapplied technologies and why they weren’t adopted. “Reimagining how these technologies can solve more general problems will hopefully spark constructive debate and some creativity amongst the audience,” he said.

To get additional insights into Strathmann’s work, be sure to attend the NMS pre-conference clinical lab tour on October 3, one of four such tours available to participants. The NMS tour will cover the lab’s main operations as well as primary research and development systems. NMS is a lab “that has successfully combined clinical and forensic workflows with an impressive depth of toxicological offerings,” he said. Presentations will focus on how NMS has led the response to novel psychoactive substances, both from an administrative perspective and an analytical perspective.

The conference’s well-rounded agenda also includes expert discussions on day-to-day operations, assay development, and validation for laboratory-developed tests, as well as updates and insights on tissue imaging and proteomics.

Register now for AACC’s 8th Annual Mass Spectrometry and Separation Sciences for Laboratory Medicine Conference October 4–5 in Philadelphia and earn 9.5 ACCENT credits.