Organizers of the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Chicago are keeping things fresh and innovative with new interactive sessions while updating old favorites. The diverse program will include a disruptive technology competition, new interactive features such as a live video feed of toxicology testing being performed, and a return of the Family Feud session introduced last year in San Diego.

Attracting more than 20,000 participants, AACC’s annual conclave is the premier laboratory medicine meeting worldwide, David Grenache, PhD, DABCC, chief scientific officer of TriCore Reference Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and chair of the annual meeting organizing committee (AMOC), told CLN Stat. “Besides the terrific scientific and educational content, the expo is the largest in the United States and is a great place to see new technologies that can benefit today’s busy clinical laboratories,” he said. Attendees have endless opportunities to network, make new connections, and enhance their careers, he added.

The Disruptive Technology Award, a competition that searches for a new device or test to transform patient care, promises to be one of the key highlights of the conference.

AACC University—a collection of educational sessions that take place on Sunday before the official start of the Annual Scientific Meeting—is another can’t miss event. AMOC purposefully created this year’s content with a “basics and beyond” theme, Grenache said. Thirteen sessions will focus either on fundamental concepts and principles in laboratory medicine or on teaching specific skills. Morning and afternoon courses are a maximum of 3 hours long, and several full-day courses will be offered as well. Attendees will receive certificates documenting their participation and completion of the courses.

Plenary sessions discuss emerging science from top researchers and clinical leaders from across the globe, and this year’s speakers are no exception. Experts from Oregon Health & Science University, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and the University of Michigan will be presenting their discoveries involving targeted cancer therapies, genetic defects in bile acid synthesis, HPV-associated cancers, nucleic acid detection using CRISPR-Dx, and essential diagnostics.

The Family Feud session introduced in 2017 with Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians and AACC Board members on competing teams will return in 2018 with a new twist. “This time, it will be held on the expo floor with a matchup between the AACC Academy Council and the Clinical Laboratory Scientist Council,” said Grenache.

Several other sessions also will present content in new ways. For  example, a session on real-time toxicology testing will feature a live video feed of clinical scientists performing comprehensive serum and urine drug of abuse testing, followed by a case discussion with experts. “Another interactive session will provide a ‘speed dating’ format for the discussion of specific pain points related to technologies in the lab,” Grenache explained. “Attendees will rotate between four tables every 20 minutes. While participants are at each table, they will pair up and discuss two predefined scenarios, followed by a high-level summary and further discussion.”

Conference organizers plan to utilize the FXP Touch audience response system once more and are encouraging speakers to use this technology whenever possible. A poster theater also will surround the poster area.

Grenache is particularly excited about this year’s Chair’s invited session, “Clinical Lab 2.0: How Laboratories Can Support Value Based Care, Optimize Patient Outcomes, and Reduce Total Cost of Care in Acute and Chronic Conditions,” with its focus on using lab data to support population health management. He’s also looking forward to a session on the increasing popularity of wellness monitoring, ‘The Quantified Self and Wellness Monitoring: Actionable Data or Harmful Information?”

The meeting’s host city of Chicago offers many venues that attendees can explore while at the meeting, Grenache said. “I’m a big fan of the Windy City and enjoy being in Chicago when our meeting is held there,” he observed.

Registration has opened for the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo. Here’s your opportunity to participate in novel interactive sessions, learn about the latest in diagnostic technologies, and interact with your peers in clinical laboratory medicine.