Press Release

The Future of Direct-to-Consumer Genetics, Precision Medicine, Neuroscience, and Diagnostic Technology to Be Explored at the 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting

ANAHEIM, Calif. – At the 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, laboratory medicine experts will present the cutting-edge research and technology that is revolutionizing clinical testing and patient care. From August 4-8 in Anaheim, California, the meeting’s 200-plus sessions will deliver insights on a broad range of timely healthcare topics. Highlights of these include discussions exploring direct-to-consumer genetic testing, precision medicine’s progress to date, how genes shape the brain circuitry that defines human behavior, and emerging technologies ranging from new cannabis tests to extremely rapid molecular diagnostics.

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing. The popularity of consumer genetic testing is rising exponentially, with as many people buying these tests in 2018 as in all previous years combined. A special session will shed light on the little-understood nuances of direct-to-consumer genetic tests, with a focus on how healthcare professionals can enable patients to benefit from these tests while also raising public awareness about their limitations.

Precision medicine. Precision medicine is the practice of tailoring treatment based on the results of genetic and other tests that identify which interventions patients will respond to best. In theory, this approach could revolutionize healthcare, but in practice, the medical community has struggled to implement it in a widespread manner. David R. Walt, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, will kick off the meeting with a keynote about how to solve one of the biggest challenges holding precision medicine back: the difficulty of translating promising research discoveries into tests and treatments that impact patient health.

Virginia Kaklamani, MD, DSc, of the University of Texas Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, will examine how precision medicine identifies breast cancer patients who will respond to targeted therapeutics—including those unlikely to respond to chemotherapy, thereby helping them to avoid this toxic treatment.

Lastly, Euan Ashley, MB ChB, DPhil, of the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Diseases, will highlight new genomic sequencing technologies that could drive precision medicine forward, while also exploring precision medicine’s likely near-term uses—such as in solving the mystery of unidentifiable diseases.

The genetics of human behavior. In another plenary session, Julie Korenberg, MD, PhD, of the Center for Integrated Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of Utah, will explain how genetic mutations lead to changes in brain circuitry that cause cognitive deficits. Understanding this could lead to medications for developmental disorders such as Down and Williams syndrome, while also elucidating the underpinnings of human behavior.

Emerging technology. It is critical to understand marijuana’s effects on driving performance now that numerous states have legalized recreational and medicinal use of this drug. A late-breaking session will discuss how mass spectrometry is helping to shed light on this issue, along with other groundbreaking applications of this up-and-coming diagnostic technology.

In the meeting’s closing keynote, Carl Wittwer, MD, PhD, of the University of Utah, will explore extremely rapid molecular diagnostics that provide answers within seconds, and that could enable immediate diagnosis and treatment for a broad range of conditions.

Additionally, at the Clinical Lab Expo, more than 800 exhibitors will display innovative technologies that are just coming to market in every clinical lab discipline.

“Laboratory medicine’s capacity to improve quality of life is constantly growing, with cutting-edge diagnostic technologies emerging every day in areas as diverse as cancer, neurology, genomics, and drug testing,” said AACC CEO Janet B. Kreizman. “The 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting will spotlight the pioneers in laboratory medicine who are mobilizing these innovations to enhance patient care.”

Session Information

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

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

Session 11002: Consumer Genomics, Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing, and Patient Empowerment
Sunday, August 4
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Room 204B

Precision Medicine

Session 11001: Biomarker Discovery: From Technology Development to Clinical Applications
Sunday, August 4
5 – 6:30 p.m.
Ballroom ABC

Session 13001: Using Biomarkers to Tailor Treatment for Breast Cancer
Tuesday, August 6
8:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Ballroom ABC

Session 14001: Towards Precision Medicine
Wednesday, August 7
8:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Ballroom ABC

The Genetics of Human Behavior

Session 12001: Translating Genes, Brain and Behavior: A Next-Generation Human Framework
Monday, August 5
8:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Ballroom ABC

Emerging Technology

Session 32224: Marijuana, Metabolomics, and Multiplexed Imaging – Late Breaking Applications of Mass Spectrometry
Monday, August 5
2:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Room 204A

Session 15001: Extreme Molecular Diagnostics
Thursday, August 8
8:45 – 10:15 a.m.
Ballroom ABC

All sessions will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

About the 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

The AACC Annual Scientific Meeting offers 5 days packed with opportunities to learn about exciting science from August 4-8. Plenary sessions feature the latest research on accelerating the clinical adoption of new biomedical discoveries, the influence of genetics and brain circuitry on behavior, targeted breast cancer treatment, advances in precision medicine, and extremely rapid molecular diagnostic tests.

At the AACC Clinical Lab Expo, more than 800 exhibitors will fill the show floor of the Anaheim Convention Center in California 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
[email protected]

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