Newswise — PHILADELPHIA – The 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo is where the future of laboratory medicine and patient care comes into view. This year, late-breaking sessions will deliver insights into the latest advances that are transforming healthcare, including gene editing with CRISPR, the use of drones to transport patient samples in remote areas, and efforts to end the hepatitis C epidemic.

CRISPR. Short for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” CRISPR has made genome editing easy by enabling researchers to quickly and precisely cut and paste segments of DNA. This technique shows incredible promise, and could potentially be used to treat conditions ranging from inherited vision loss to HIV.

In the scientific session, “Correcting Nature’s Mistakes and Beyond: The Promise of Gene Therapy,” experts will examine how CRISPR could be used to enhance immunotherapy by genetically editing the body’s T cells and instructing them to detect and destroy cancer cells. In addition, attendees will hear about the use of gene editing and adeno-associated virus-based gene therapy to treat genetic disease.

Disruptive technology. Central laboratories operate under space, time, and transport limitations that can hinder patient access to crucial tests, but innovations are on the horizon that could lift these constraints and make the patient testing experience better than ever. Soon, drones could make laboratory testing accessible in remote areas by collecting samples from patients directly and transporting them to labs. Major tests could potentially be performed right at the patient’s bedside because immense mass spectrometers have been shrunk down to fit in the palm of one’s hand and coupled with microfluidics; and now that nucleic acid testing can be done in less than one minute. And alternative ways to obtain blood samples could eliminate the need for patients to undergo painful venous blood draws.

Experts will explore the implications of each of these advancements in the two-part session, “Technologies That Could Change the Future of the Clinical Laboratory.”

Hepatitis C. Despite a revolution in treating hepatitis C, many in medicine question whether new, curative therapies mean the end of this epidemic. Three special sessions at the meeting will explore treatment and prevention; a debate on the future of hepatitis C; and the latest science on laboratory testing for this disease.

“Healthcare has leapt forward this year with a wide range of breakthroughs, from new technologies that will make it easier for people to get vital test results, to advances in gene editing that could give hope to patients with incurable genetic diseases,” said AACC CEO Janet B. Kreizman. “A stellar line-up of talks at the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting will showcase these great strides in research and laboratory medicine that are poised to improve the lives of patients around the world.”

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


Session 34103: Correcting Nature’s Mistakes and Beyond: The Promise of Gene TherapyWednesday, August 310:30 a.m. – NoonRoom 103AB

Disruptive Technology

Session 32421: Technologies That Could Change the Future of the Clinical Laboratory, Part IMonday, August 112:30 – 2 p.m.Room 113AB

Session 32220: Technologies That Could Change the Future of the Clinical Laboratory: Part IIMonday, August 12:30 – 4 p.m. Room 113AB

Hepatitis C

Session 32105: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) – Research in Treatment and PreventionMonday, August 110:30 a.m. – NoonRoom 103AB

Session 32409: Debate: Is Hepatitis C of Continuing Concern, or Is It Going Away?Monday, August 112:30 – 2 p.m.Room 103AB

Session 32218: HCV and Laboratory Medicine: Testing in Support of Screening and DiagnosisMonday, August 12:30 – 4 p.m.Room 103AB

All sessions will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

About the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab ExpoThe 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 AACCDedicated 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