CHICAGO – Nearly 20,000 medical professionals and healthcare leaders gathered for AACC’s 65th Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Chicago from July 27–31. The meeting featured never-before-seen breakthroughs in diagnostic research and technology that will advance medicine and get patients the treatment they need.
As of Wednesday, July 30, more than 19,500 attendees had registered for the 2014 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, with more than 10,000 of these attendees coming for the scientific sessions. More registrants are expected today, the last day of the meeting.
Highlights of the conference program included five plenary talks presented by distinguished experts on subjects ranging from digital health to an early blood test for Alzheimer’s. Eric Topol, MD, winner of AACC’s 2014 Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, gave the opening keynote on how mobile health technology is empowering patients with their own health data—collected by smartphones and other mobile health apps—and allowing them to take a more active role in making their own healthcare decisions.
Monday’s plenary speaker Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, offered real world examples illustrating the predictive power of big data and how it is improving patient care by enabling researchers to analyze thousands of medical data points at once rather than having to limit their focus to a single question. Tuesday’s plenary with Mayo Clinic researcher Piero Rinaldo, MD, PhD, built on this concept by exploring how big data can help to avoid false positives in newborn screening and prevent infants from receiving unnecessary or even harmful medical treatment. On Wednesday, Jeffrey Friedman, MD, PhD—who discovered the hormone leptin—presented his research on the role leptin plays in obesity and why it is important to approach obesity as a medical issue instead of a problem driven by environmental factors or a lack of willpower. And in today’s closing keynote, Amrita Cheema, PhD, one of the co-developers of an early blood test for Alzheimer’s disease, expanded upon her groundbreaking research and why it could be the key to developing treatments to halt or slow Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, abstracts presented at the meeting spotlighted timely discoveries in the field of laboratory medicine, including research on a portable blood test that can detect low levels of Ebola—and the closely related Sudan virus—in 10 minutes. The test uses the same technology found in home pregnancy tests, which enables it to be performed in the resource-limited settings most prone to Ebola outbreaks and by individuals without extensive medical training. By enabling healthcare workers to identify, isolate, and treat Ebola patients as quickly as possible, this test could play an integral role in preventing future Ebola outbreaks from reaching the magnitude of the outbreak that West Africa is currently battling.
The 2014 AACC Clinical Lab Expo, with more than 650 exhibitors filling the McCormick Place show floor, featured breakthrough innovations in clinical testing, including numerous examples of the lab-on-a-chip technology discussed by Dr. Topol in his keynote, the first ever human papillomavirus DNA test approved by the Food and Drug Administration for primary cervical cancer screening, and the newest tests in reproductive health, infectious diseases, drug testing, and much more.
“The research and technology presented at this year’s AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo illustrates the integral role laboratory medicine plays in advancing patient care and will make a significant impact on medicine worldwide,” said AACC CEO Janet Kreizman. “I look forward to seeing what new breakthroughs will be unveiled at next year’s meeting as laboratory medicine professionals continue to lead healthcare into the future.”
The AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo will head to Atlanta from July 26–30 in 2015.
Dedicated to achieving better health through laboratory medicine, AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management, and other areas of breaking laboratory science. Since 1948, AACC has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing programs that advance scientific collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and innovation. For more information, visit www.aacc.org.