Press Release

Research on Zika, CRISPR, and Programmable Bio-Nano-Chips Draws 20,000 Attendees to 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

PHILADELPHIA – AACC welcomed thousands of medical professionals and healthcare leaders at the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Philadelphia from July 31–August 4. The meeting featured pioneering advances in medical testing research and technology that will help patients get accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment.

As of Wednesday, August 3, a total of 20,000 laboratory medicine professionals had registered for the meeting, which is a 14% increase over meeting attendance in 2015 and the highest number of attendees that have come to the meeting in the last four years. More attendees are expected today, the last day of the meeting.

Highlights of the conference program included five plenary talks presented by luminaries in the field on subjects ranging from programmable bio-nano-chips to the latest research on cannabis. John T. McDevitt, PhD, winner of AACC’s 2016 Wallace H. Coulter Lectureship Award, gave the opening keynote on the programmable bio-nano-chip, and how it could be used to diagnose conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease before symptoms even manifest.

Monday’s plenary speaker Sir Richard Peto, FRS, outlined his bold vision for halving the global risk of death before age 70 in the next 20 years. Tuesday’s plenary with Andrew P. Feinberg, MD, MPH, explored the relationship between epigenetic changes and common human disease, and the exciting implications this has for molecular diagnostics and novel forms of therapy. On Wednesday, Zoltan Takats, PhD, and Virginia LiVolsi, MD, discussed the “intelligent” surgical knife, a novel device that could enable instantaneous differentiation of malignant from benign tissue during tumor resection. And in today’s closing keynote, Marilyn Huestis, PhD, presented the latest findings on the impact of cannabis use on overall health and driving, as well as how to detect impairment from cannabis.

Late-breaking sessions at the meeting spotlighted timely research in the field of healthcare. In “Zika Virus – Global Impact and the Role of Diagnostic Testing,” leading researchers gave an overview of the Zika epidemic and discussed emergency use authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration for Zika tests, as well as an innovative paper-based diagnostic for the virus. In the session, “Correcting Nature’s Mistakes and Beyond: The Promise of Gene Therapy,” experts examined gene editing with the revolutionary technique CRISPR. The two-part session “Technologies That Could Change the Future of the Clinical Laboratory” looked at disruptive technologies that could enhance the patient testing experience, from drones that transport patient samples to alternative blood sampling techniques that could eliminate the need for painful venous blood draws. Three sessions on hepatitis C also explored treatment and prevention for the disease, a debate on its future, and the latest science on laboratory testing for the virus.

Additionally, in a widely anticipated special session, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes presented preliminary validation data for a compact instrument called “miniLab,” the inside of a cartridge-based testing system, video and description of micro-collection devices, and a concept called a virtual analyzer.

The 68th AACC Clinical Lab Expo featured more than 730 exhibitors and covered 244,000 net square feet, making this the largest show floor in AACC’s history. This dynamic exhibit featured groundbreaking tests from all laboratory medicine disciplines, including mobile health, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, point-of-care, and automation.

“At the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting, leaders in laboratory medicine demonstrated the integral role they play in healthcare—whether it’s curbing outbreaks of infectious diseases like Zika, finding new solutions to tackle diabetes, or offering essential insights into cannabis use for policymakers,” said AACC CEO Janet B. Kreizman. “Laboratory medicine professionals continue to develop innovative solutions to patient health problems, and I look forward to seeing the new advances that will be presented at next year’s conference.”

The AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo will head to San Diego from July 30–August 3, 2017.

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

Media Contacts

Christine DeLong
Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine
Associate Director, Communications & PR
(p) 202.835.8722
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Molly Polen
Association for Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine
Senior Director, Communications & PR
(p) 202.420.7612
(c) 703.598.0472
[email protected]