AACC makes the case for value | The skinny on AACC product news | FDA's draft guidance on pathology peer review

Dear LabPulse Member,

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Anaheim, CA, was a great opportunity for us at LabPulse.com to introduce ourselves to the community of lab medicine professionals, hear the latest on scientific issues of interest, and take stock of hot IVD trends. At the meeting's end, organizers said they had registered almost 20,000 attendees and featured more than 800 exhibitors.

Among other scientific sessions, I covered a panel on ways in which labs can enhance the value of their services. The presenters emphasized the importance of thoughtfully providing full services -- rather than merely products -- and gave examples of diagnostics that improve the outlook for health systems overall, such as sophisticated cardiac troponin measurement for heart injury and EGFR testing to guide the use of expensive tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The panel also included an overview of efforts at Kaiser Permanente Southern California to improve follow-up for abnormal test results.

I also conducted video interviews with experts featured in the meeting's roundtable sessions. Eugenio Zabaleta, PhD, a clinical chemist at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, was among the presenters who provided their expertise on utilization management for lab tests. Zabaleta explained his views about how laboratorians can get involved in ensuring that test ordering is evidence-based, in cooperation with colleagues in other specialties.

Dr. Damien Gruson, PhD, a laboratory medicine specialist at Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels, recapped his talk on artificial intelligence and data science in a video interview. His presentation included an analysis of tailor-made versus off-the-shelf approaches.

The many product releases showcased on the AACC expo floor included a new line of automation software from Beckman Coulter, miniature isolation valves from Emerson, and the AlinIQ Integrated platform from Abbott Diagnostics. Bruce Carlson, publisher of LabPulse sister company Kalorama Information, spent his time at the meeting roving the expo floor, meeting with companies, and checking out new products. He shared his take on product news in a video interview as the meeting came to a close.

With the AACC meeting in the rearview mirror, I would also like to highlight recent clinical and regulatory news affecting the field of laboratory medicine. Using grant money, researchers at the Institut Pasteur in Paris reported early results for an HPV test for use in characterizing the grade of infection and hopefully cutting down on the high rate of negative colposcopies. The researchers told LabPulse.com they are currently shopping it around to IVD companies and planning a follow-up study.

On the regulatory front, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published draft recommendations outlining the proper conduct of pathology peer reviews in toxicology studies that adhere to good laboratory practices. You have until September 30 to have your say in written comments to the agency.

Last but not least, we all have two major meetings to look forward to: The joint meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and American Pathology Foundation is being held September 11-13 in Phoenix, and the annual gathering of the College of American Pathologists is slated for September 21-25 in Orlando, FL.

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