The 42nd Association of Genetic Technologists (AGT) Annual Meeting highlighted the underlying theme of change. Change of professional landscape, AGT Board Management and culture. This theme was established starting from the Thursday workshops focused on Management, Molecular genetics techniques and the economics of novel Cytogenetic and Molecular workflows and propagated throughout the remaining conference agenda.
Highlights included a keynote address by Dr. Joshua D. Schiffman (Medical Director, High Risk Pediatric Cancer Clinic, Huntsman Cancer Institute) on comparative oncology titled “Learning from Elephants to help patients with Cancer” on Friday morning and the Gordon W. Dewald lecture by Dr. Rhett P. Ketterling (Co- Medical Director, Mayo Clinic) titled “FISH- The Land of Opportunity in the World of Make Believe” on Saturday morning.
With evolution of lab methods from Cytogenetics to FISH to Sanger Sequencing followed by proliferation of NGS labs in the country Dr. Phil Cotter’s (PhD, FACMGG, FFSc(RCPA), Laboratory Director, ResearchDx) talk titled “The Pathway to FDA Approval for NGS Companion Diagnostics” was exactly what was needed to tie loose ends and provide the much-needed perspective on where diagnostic utility lies and how molecular companion diagnostics pursue the FDA route.
With two scientific posters among thirty eight others ranging on topics from validation, FISH, Cytogenetics, technical notes, Microarray, NIPT, NGS and Whole Genome Sequencing to genetic signatures associated with Breast Cancer patients in the African American and Caucasian populations and novel abnormalities seen in NSCLC; ResearchDX/PacificDx was well represented at the conference with posters titled “Isolation and Low Pass Genome Wide Sequencing For Clinically Relevant Copy Number Analysis in Circulating Tumor Cells” by Cynthe Sims and “Method Validation for Novel Image and Cell Surface Marker Based Enrichment For Breast and Gastroesophageal FFPE Biopsies with Downstream FISH Application” by Aditi Khurana.
Apart from the posters and talk by Dr. Phil Cotter the icing on the cake was definitely a sweeping victory in the form of “The Best Molecular/Biochemical Platform Presentation” for the entire company. This 15 minute talk was given by Aditi Khurana as a representative of exciting and innovative collaboration with Menarini Silicon Biosystems and the CAP/CLIA validation of their unique Tumor Cell Enrichment Platform called DEPArrayTM.
It will be exciting to see how new technologies presented at this meeting have been integrated into the clinical arena when the 43rd AGT meeting convenes in Tampa Florida in from 1st – 3rd June 2018!