13 August 2019

AACC: Who's Disrupting Diagnostics?

By Eleanor Doolin

Product launches and many fascinating, innovative approaches to diagnostics meant that the 71st meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) did not disappoint.

There’s so much to talk about, so let’s just get on with it. Here’s my main takeaways from another exciting year:

Who’s Disrupting Diagnostics?

Innovation is highly important in this space, so the AACC’s Disruptive Technology Award carries a lot of prestige.

This year’s award went to the molecular diagnostics company, Inflammatix, for their Rapid HostDx tests that are transforming diagnosis and care for Sepsis and acute infections. 

Unlike traditional diagnostic approaches that look for blood-based pathogens, Inflammatix’s tests measure the expression of multiple immune genes to identify the presence of bacterial or viral infections.

This disruptive approach is far more effective than blood-based tests, which don’t detect infections and sepsis cases half the time. Inflammatix's technology is proven in dozens of studies involving over 2,400 patients and published in leading peer-reviewed journals.

This is a company to watch, developing a proprietary cartridge-based system that will produce rapid results at the point of care in 30 minutes, with additional plans to seek FDA clearance for the HostDx Sepsis test soon.

What Were the Biggest Reveals?

Along with the awards, you’re always guaranteed an exciting new product launch at AACC. This year three stood out from: RandoxERBA Mannheim and Instrumentation Laboratory, part of the Werfen group.

First off, Randox revealed a ground-breaking new test which improves the accuracy of stroke diagnosis. Their Stroke Biochip is a rapid and highly sensitive blood test that will enhance existing CT scans and improve accuracy in diagnosis of stroke patients – differentiating between stroke types.

Providing results in under 30 minutes, it’s likely that this test will have a more prominent role in the future, moving away from the CT scans it currently operates alongside.

An equally impressive reveal came from ERBA Mannheim, who showcased their NEXUS automation systems range for the first time. Aimed at delivering mid-scale, advanced automation across immunology, clinical chemistry and hematology; the Erba NEXUS range employs advanced technology to deliver affordable modular automation. This is an essential addition to the market, allowing midsized labs to stay competitive in an environment of consolidation.

Last but by no means least, Instrumentation Laboratory, part of the Werfen group, unveiled their latest addition to the GEM Premier family – the ChemSTAT analyser.

Speed is the name of the game for this newcomer. In just 70 seconds, the whole blood analyser provides laboratory-quality results from venous or arterial whole blood samples, with no preparation required. Ultimately, this aids in diagnosis for timely triage of life-threatening conditions and enables rapid risk stratification, prioritisation and treatment of acutely ill patients. In today’s accelerating world of diagnostics, that’s an essential quality.

In addition, the system integrates Intelligent Quality Management to provide a complete image of quality for each sample. This is like no other system on the market.

Did Anyone Steal the Spotlight?

All these solutions are highly impressive, and it wouldn’t be far to say that one stole the spotlight. However, it would be equally unjust not to give First Light Diagnostics’ innovative Multipath technology a shout out.

This technology grabs headlines for its ability to deliver AST results in just four hours, compared to the four days it currently takes. This means that clinicians can administer the most effective therapy during the onset of infection rather than wait days for results.

The user-friendly test platform detects a wide range of medically important analytes including bacteria, fungi, viruses, toxins and biomarkers.

The future looks bright for First Light who are well on their way with clinical studies and targeting FDA clearance by the close of 2019.

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By Eleanor Doolin

Eleanor Doolin works as a Senior Consultant broadly within IVD but has previously spent time focusing specifically in clinical chemistry and oncology, plus advances in non-invasive diagnostic testing. She is always looking to connect with innovative individuals and organisations working in this area.

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