AACC’s annual meeting still offers impressive array of scientific sessions and exhibits

Yesterday ended the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) in Chicago, Illinois. Your Dark Daily team was there to ferret out anything new and interesting and to sniff out the latest trends in the business of laboratory testing.

As expected, this year’s event was considerably subdued. Attendance was clearly down, even though the exhibition hall featured more than 650 exhibitors—a number comparable to last year. But the exuberance of recent years was gone. For example, AACC did not make a public address announcement in the exhibit hall to announce the total number of attendees this year and thank everyone—at least not when your Dark Daily editor was in the exhibit hall. Speculation was that this year’s total attendance was down from the 20,000+ attendees in each of recent years. Estimates were that the attendance decline ranged from 20% to 30% fewer attendees.

That said, AACC’s annual meeting remains an important laboratory industry event in the United Sates. It has the largest number of vendors, attendees, and scientific presentations of any conference in laboratory medicine. There was much to see, lots to do, and something to be learned for everyone who was in Chicago this week.

AACC Exhibition 2009 Annual Meeting
Several notable things caught the eye of your editor. For example, how about an integrated, high-volume chemistry with modules that can be configured to handle from 1,200 tests per hour to 7,200 tests per hour? JEOL, Inc. of Tokyo, Japan, plans to introduce that instrument system—the JCA-BM 8000 Series—in the United States within the next 18 months. You may not have heard of JEOL, but you probably know some of its products. For several years, a number of JEOL’s chemistry analyzers and instrument systems have been sold under the Bayer Diagnostics (now Siemens Diagnostics) brand name.

In the configuration pictured above, JEOL’s high-volume modular
JCA-BM 800 chemistry system can handle 4,800 tests per hour.

In Japan and Asia, JEOL is a well-established in vitro diagnostics company. Its products are used by many high-volume laboratories. JEOL executives believe it is time to build awareness of the company among clinical laboratories in the United States. That is why JEOL will sell this ultra-high volume modular chemistry system under its own brand.

In the category of new technology, another eye-catcher was a new instrument system and molecular assay menu that Perkin-Elmer Corp unveiled at AACC. Using the xMap proprietary technology licensed from Luminex Corporation, your Dark Daily editor would describe this new multi-plex testing system as “moving from the glass microarray to the microbead.”

Perkin-Elmer sales staff explained that its new  “BoBs” system is “BACs-on-Beads” technology (Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes). It offers several benefits over existing molecular microarray methods:

• It works with a 96-well plate to support automation
• It requires no culture and offers results in less than 24 hours
• It only needs 15 nanograms of DNA input

Are you interested in buying PerkinElmer’s BoBs system? Sorry. It’s not for sale today. But you won’t have to wait much longer. Plans are to commence sales to clinical laboratories as early as this September.

These two examples show how incremental advances in diagnostic testing technologies and new engineering breakthroughs continue to produce unexpected new products. Clinical laboratories and pathology groups directly benefit from these innovations, because they help improve accuracy and increase productivity.

Overall, the experience at this week-long AACC meeting reflects the reality of today’s laboratory testing marketplace. The glum economy has put a damper on spending by laboratory industry vendors, as well as less travel by laboratory professionals. But the pace of innovation and the optimism that underpins the launch of new products, such as the JEOL’s JCA-BM 8000 Series instruments and the PerkinElmer’s BoBs system, also indicate that, as the economy bounces back, lots of companies are ready to respond quickly and enthusiastically.

Finally, a Dark Daily tip-of-the-hat to the team at AACC, which every year produces a well-organized event that seems to run effortlessly and on time. It is a huge effort to welcome tens of thousands of laboratory professionals to a new city every year, and provide them with a valuable educational experience.

Signing off from an overcrowded O’Hare Airport, waiting for a flight that is two hours and 25 minutes late, Robert Michel, your Dark Daily Editor respond to: rmichel@darkreport.com

Related Information:

For information on JEOL Inc’s JCA-BM 8000 Series:

For information on PerkinElmer’s BoBs system:


;