PHILADELPHIA – At the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo—the premier global conference and exhibit for laboratory medicine—visionaries in the field will illuminate the pioneering research and technology paving the way for better clinical testing and patient care. From July 31–August 4 in Philadelphia, the meeting will feature more than 200 talks on a broad range of timely healthcare topics. Highlights of these include plenaries that explore the latest research on cannabis use, reducing premature death worldwide, and innovations such as the programmable bio-nano-chip and “intelligent” surgical knife. 

Cannabis. As legal recreational and medical marijuana use gains traction, it is critical that law enforcement have a way to test for whether someone is driving under the influence. However, recent research has revealed that determining whether a driver is impaired by marijuana is much more complicated than testing for blood alcohol content. In a plenary session, Marilyn A. Huestis, PhD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will present the latest findings on the impact of cannabis use on driving and overall health, as well as the newest developments in testing for cannabinoids in blood and saliva.

Researchers from Calgary Laboratory Services in Canada will also present a study on a new urine test to detect cannabis and its metabolites that is accurate and cost-effective.

Halving premature death. Though death in old age is inevitable, death before old age is not, according to Sir Richard Peto, MSc, of the University of Oxford, who will deliver a plenary presentation on how this idea could become reality. Peto will give an overview of the major causes of death in different parts of the world, with a focus on preventable causes of mortality such as tobacco, which still accounts for six million deaths worldwide each year. He will also explain how global efforts to tackle these preventable causes could cut rates of premature death in half.

Innovative technology. John T. McDevitt, PhD, of the College of Dentistry of New York University, will delve into the programmable bio-nano-chip, a mobile health testing platform that could make it possible to diagnose conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and infectious diseases with a device the size of a credit card chip during his plenary presentation.

In a separate plenary, Zoltan Takats, PhD, of the Imperial College in London, and Virginia LiVolsi, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, will discuss the “intelligent” surgical knife. This novel device couples electrosurgical tools to mass spectrometry, and could make surgery more precise by enabling doctors to diagnostically analyze a patient’s tissue in real time during an operation. 

Additionally, more than 750 exhibitors will display innovative technologies at the Clinical Lab Expo in every clinical lab discipline. Attendees will have the opportunity to see hundreds of new products just coming to market in areas such as mobile health, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, point-of-care, automation, and more.

“Every year brings new challenges for the field of laboratory medicine, such as the issue of how to test for cannabis impairment, while answers to complex questions such as how to prevent premature death remain elusive,” said AACC CEO Janet B. Kreizman. “The 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting will feature leaders in lab medicine who are actively working on solutions to these challenges. Their research underscores the vital ways in which clinical testing enhances patient care, as well as everyday life.”

Session Information

AACC Annual Scientific Meeting registration is free for members of the media. Reporters can register online here:


Session 15001: The Great Cannabis Experiment: Medical Miracle? Harmless High? Civil Consequences?
Thursday, August 4
8:45–10:15 a.m.
Grand Ballroom

Scientific Poster B-343: LC-MS/MS quantification of 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol-glucuronide in urine
Wednesday, August 3
9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (presenting author in attendance from 12:30–1:30 p.m.)
Terrace Ballroom

Halving Premature Death

Session 12001: Halving Premature Death
Monday, August 1
8:45–10:15 a.m.
Grand Ballroom

Innovative Technology

Session 11001: The Programmable Bio-Nano-Chip: A Platform to Digitize Biology
Sunday, July 31
5–6:30 p.m.
Grand Ballroom

Session 14001: Direct Mass Spectrometric Profiling of Biological Tissues—A New Paradigm in Histology
Wednesday, August 3
8:45–10:15 a.m.
Grand Ballroom

All sessions will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

About the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

The AACC Annual Scientific Meeting offers 5 days packed with opportunities to learn about exciting science from July 31–August 4. Plenary sessions feature the latest research on the use of and testing for cannabis, combating premature death due to preventable causes such as tobacco and alcohol, the development of an “intelligent” surgical knife, programmable bio-nano-chips, and the epigenetic causes of disease.

At the AACC Clinical Lab Expo, more than 750 exhibitors will fill the show floor of Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, with displays of the latest diagnostic technology, including but not limited to mobile health, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, point-of-care, and automation.

About AACC

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 progressing 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