From tissue imaging to cancer moonshots, AACC’s 8th Annual Mass Spectrometry and Separation Sciences for Laboratory Medicine Conference in Philadelphia has something for everyone. This one-stop forum on October 4–5 will offer the latest information on cutting edge developments and day-to-day operations of this emerging technology.

This year’s agenda was designed to fulfill the needs of its diverse audience, Yan Victoria Zhang, PhD, DABCC, the conference’s program chair and director of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Clinical Mass Spectrometry and Toxicology lab, told CLN Stat. The conference’s organizing committee invited leading experts in each field to share their expertise with the audience and offer a thorough overview of the different aspects of clinical MS developments.

“We offer expert discussion in day-to-day operations, assay development, and validation for laboratory-developed tests,” said Zhang. “We provide updates on the essential areas in toxicology and inborn errors of metabolism. We also provide insights into the emerging areas for next-generation clinical mass spectrometry topics such as precision medicine, tissue imaging, proteomics, and metabolomics.”

The organizing committee took its time in deciding which topics to include in the program, as so many exciting developments have taken place in MS in the last year, she continued.

One highly anticipated session on October 4, Bringing Next Generation Clinical Mass Spectrometry to Next Generation Scientists, will provide an opportunity for young investigators to be onstage and showcase their research. Organizers started this session last year to recognize up and coming researchers who already have excelled, Zhang explained. “We will select the speakers from our submissions and pay their way to attend the meeting,” she said.

Tissue Imaging for Next Generation Clinical Mass Spectrometry on October 5 is another conference highlight. This is a fast growing field, Zhang said. “We believe that tissue imaging will play an important function in revolutionizing the anatomic pathology field,” she said. Over the last few years, AACC and MS conference organizers have worked closely with the College of American Pathology to raise the awareness of this topic in various sessions, according to Zhang. “We are on the leading edge of this technology, and AACC has and will continue to play an active role in supporting the development and implementation of the field of tissue imaging,” she added.

Following tissue imaging is the highly anticipated session on Proteomics-A Landing for the “Cancer Moonshot.” One of the speakers, Henry Rodriguez MBA, MS, PhD, director of the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Clinical Proteomics Research, “has been a longtime advocate for the clinical chemistry society and has collaborated with me on numerous programs within AACC to showcase the importance of the clinical chemists in the cancer research and the cancer moonshot program,” said Zhang, who sits on the cancer moonshot technology working group with former AACC president Steven H. Wong, PhD, a professor of pathology at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Zhang said she’s looking forward to hearing about exciting developments in this program and related proteomics research.

If you arrive early in Philadelphia, you’ll have a chance to participate in the pre-conference clinical lab tours and workshops on October 3. The pre-conference lab workshop is the very first of its kind for clinical MS training programs in a large scale conference setting, Zhang said. Kicking off 3 years ago, this event has since become a staple of AACC’s MS conference. “The workshop is designed to narrow the practical knowledge gap for our audience. It has been very well-received, with overwhelming positive responses from the attendees,” according to Zhang.

Attendees during this half-day workshop will visit one of the leading clinical MS laboratories in the Philadelphia area. They’ll have the opportunity to gain insights in the following areas:

  • Essential considerations for a high-functioning MS laboratory;
  • Day-to-day operations of a clinical MS lab; and
  • Fundamental knowledge in sample preparation, sample analysis, and data reporting and interpretation.

“This year we will have the experts from the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Temple University and the NMS labs to offer the on-site workshop. We also added a proteomics and metabolomics lab from Temple University to our program for people to select this year to fulfill different needs of our audience,” Zhang said. Attendees will have the option to choose from one of these workshops.

Due to limited space constraints for these tours, the organizing committee decided to add a panel discussion to this year’s program that recaps the workshop programs from different sites. This will provide a more balanced and broader view of clinical MS labs, Zhang said. “We will also discuss the pearls of the workshop and clinical mass spectrometry in general with the experts in this field during the panel discussion,” she said.

The goal of this year’s conference is to provide fundamental and practical knowledge that participants can use once they get back home, “as well as strategic insights into near future development in this fast growing field as they make 5-year and/or 10-year plans for their home institutions,” Zhang said.

Register now for AACC’s 8th Annual Mass Spectrometry and Separation Sciences for Laboratory Medicine Conference and earn 9.5 ACCENT credits.