More than 20,000 medical professionals and other healthcare leaders gathered from July 29–August 2 in Chicago at the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, showcasing advancements in clinical laboratory technology, services, and research that are improving patient care.

The conference program featured some 200 scientific sessions and included five plenary talks presented by scientific luminaries on subjects ranging from precision cancer therapeutics to the World Health Organization’s new Essential Diagnostics List. Brian Druker, MD, recipient of AACC’s 2018 Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award, delivered the opening keynote on his research that led to targeted treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia.

The 70th AACC Clinical Lab Expo featured 819 exhibitors, the highest number in AACC’s history. The meeting has continued to see dramatic growth in the level of industry participation, as exhibitors can reach both high-level laboratory managers and thousands of distributors from throughout the world. A digital product showcase, three sold-out exhibit hall theaters, and a booth dedicated to disruptive technologies provided a backdrop for the hundreds of new products launched and promoted at the flagship gathering of global in vitro diagnostics leaders.

In Chicago, an eight-member editorial board of AACC members followed the science for CLN Daily, the official publication of the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, which was produced and distributed on-site. In addition to the highlights below, all the articles are available on

Pushing the Prenatal Envelope

By Tina Lockwood, PhD (full article)

Since 2011, prenatal screening for chromosome abnormalities has undergone a paradigm shift as test positive predictive values skyrocketed from a dismal 4% to more than 45%. The evolution of prenatal screening is due to short fragments of cell-free fetal DNA that circulate in maternal blood. Attendees of the plenary presentation by Rossa Chiu, MBBS, PhD, heard about the game-changing advances in prenatal testing, much of which has been developed by Chiu and her colleagues.

Deciphering Thyroglobulin and Thyroglobulin Autoantibody Assays

By Sami Albeiroti, PhD (full article)

Thyroid cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy of the endocrine system, affecting three times more women than men. Detectable levels of thyroglobulin (Tg) after thyroidectomy may suggest incomplete tumor removal or cancer recurrence. Experts tackled the performance of these assays and offered insights on how laboratorians should approach their complexity.

Sherlock Holmes’ Modern Magnifier

By Joe El-Khoury, PhD (full article)

More than 30 years ago, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center implemented an international screening program for genetic causes of cholestatic liver disease that led to the identification of six new defects in bile acid synthesis. Plenary speaker Kenneth Setchell, PhD, and his team discovered bile acid synthetic defects as a cause of progressive cholestatic liver disease, a success he attributes exclusively to the application of mass spectrometry in the 1980s.

Changing Reimbursement Models Force Labs to Develop New Strategies

By Nicole Tolan, PhD (full article)

Healthcare has shifted from a fee-for-service to a capitated reimbursement model that is now extending to clinical diagnostic testing. However, many labs struggle to provide the clinical and economic evidence for how laboratory medicine supports this value-based endeavor. This challenge was the focus of the Chair’s Invited Session.

Achieving Better Dialogue Between Lab Leaders

By Dustin Bunch, PhD (full article)

Communication is a long-standing issue in every field. This becomes apparent in clinical laboratories when medical directors and administrators not only have different reporting structures but also distinct primary goals. AACC’s Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians hosted a workshop to take on some of the communication challenges in labs.. 

When Test Results Don’t Make Sense

By Zahra Shajani-Yi, PhD (full article)

Sometimes laboratory results are puzzling: Results don’t match a patient’s clinical picture, or even more perplexing, the results of complementary analytes are contradictory. In a scientific session, “What Endocrinologists Will Ask You,” experts helped equip laboratorians to answer three of the most common laboratory queries facing endocrinologists.