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Digital PCR Conference: Technologies and Tools for Precision Diagnostics - Day 3

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7:45 am Sponsored Breakfast Presentation (Opportunity Available) or Morning Coffee

8:25 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Abraham “Abe” Lee, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine


8:30 PANEL DISCUSSION WITH TECHNOLOGY VENDORS: Digital PCR Implementation Considerations

Moderator: Ross Haynes, Biological Science Technician, Biochemical Science Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Panelists: Samantha Cooper, Ph.D., Senior Staff Scientist, Digital Biology Center, Bio-Rad Laboratories 

Jonathan Frampton, Ph.D., HDx Product Manager, Horizon Diagnostics, Horizon Discovery

Doug Roberts, Ph.D., Digital PCR Applications Scientist, Formulatrix, Inc.

Iain Russell, Ph.D., Senior Product Manager, Genetic Analysis, Thermo Fisher Scientific



9:30 The Application of Digital PCR to Infectious Disease Detection

Jim Huggett, B.Sc. (Hons), Ph.D., Science Leader, Nucleic Acid Metrology, Molecular & Cell Biology, LGC

The use of PCR to the routine detection and quantification of bacterial and viral pathogens represents some of the most advanced clinical application of molecular methods today. The potential ability of digital PCR to perform highly accurate and reproducible measurement makes it well suited to add to this success. This presentation will discuss the potential that dPCR could offer for infectious disease detection, highlight current disadvantages and demonstrate some of the key advantages that absolute quantification has when used for the detection of pathogenic microbes.

10:00 Coffee Break with Exhibit and Poster Viewing

10:30 dPCR and Beyond: Clinical Utility of Cell-Free Tumor DNA

Frank Holtrup, Ph.D., Head, R&D Service Laboratories,
Sysmex Inostics GmbH

Cell-free tumor DNA is recognized as a promising marker for cancer diagnostics. Mature technologies such as BEAMing dPCR enable non-invasive mutation testing from blood, thus opening the door to a wide range of clinical applications. The presentation will focus on the clinical utility of cfDNA and the next steps beyond dPCR for high-sensitivity mutation detection.

10:45 FEATURED POSTER PRESENTATION: Droplet Digital PCR Improves Minimal Residual Disease Monitoring in Mature Lymphoid Tumors

Daniela Drandi, Ph.D., Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, Hematology Division, University of Torino

11:00 Diagnostic Use of Digital PCR for Liquid Biopsy 

Ekkehard Schütz, M.D., Ph.D., CTO, Senior Vice President, Research, Chronix Biomedical, Inc.

Liquid biopsy is an upcoming medical diagnostics tool, which describes the detection of pathologic events, such as cancer progress or organ transplantation rejection through blood testing. Digital PCR is particularly suited to fulfill the needs of precision and reliability, enabling an unprecedented diagnostic sensitivity. This new level of sensitivity allows more detailed monitoring of patients at reasonable costs, which lowers the burden of disease, with health economic implications by earlier intervention options.

11:30 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own

12:00 pm Session Break


1:00 Chairperson’s Remarks

Daniel T. Chiu, Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle

1:05 FEATURED POSTER PRESENTATION: Development of Multiplexed ddPCR Karyotyping Assays and the Importance of Assay Design

William McDowell, Research Technician, Molecular Biology, Stowers Institute for Medical Research

1:20 FEATURED POSTER PRESENTATION: Development of Primary and Second Tier Newborn Screening Assays for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Jennifer L. Taylor, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Newborn Screening & Molecular Biology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

1:35 On-Chip Integrated Digital PCR Technologies

Abraham “Abe” Lee, Ph.D., William J. Link Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Director, Micro/Nano Fluidics Fundamentals Focus (MF3) Center, University of California, Irvine

Digital PCR utilizes microfluidics to generate large numbers of water-in-oil droplets that are monodisperse and with extremely low thermal mass. However, droplet microfluidics can provide numerous functions that make dPCR even more powerful. These include droplet sorting, electrical impedance detection, on-demand multiplexing, and large-array imaging. This talk will present the integration of many of these functions for the automation and multiplexing of dPCR.

2:05 PACS: PCR-Activated Cell Sorting

Adam R. Abate, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), University of California, San Francisco

We have developed a microfluidic system that allows individual cells to be analyzed and sorted based on the outcomes of single-cell PCR reactions. Our system encapsulates each cell in a microdroplet, lyses the cell, and performs RT-PCR to detect gene transcripts, SNPs, or small non-coding RNAs of interest. Unlike FACS, PACS requires no antibodies and can differentiate among cells based on transcriptional variation. The technology has broad applications in basic research and medical diagnostics, including in cancer, immune function, and microbiology.

2:35 The Amplinome Test: A Pan-Cancer Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) Based Assay Panel to Assess Gene Amplification Status in Solid Tumors

Austin P. So, Ph.D., Director, Research & Development, TOMA Biosciences

Despite the high frequency of gene amplifications in cancer, molecular tests that measure such amplification are lacking. The Amplinome Test is a pan-cancer test that measures the amplification status of 12 genes for which FDA-approved drugs exist. By leveraging the high precision and accuracy of ddPCR and its rapid turnaround time, the Amplinome Test offers an invaluable tool for oncologists, providing clinically meaningful results for their patients within an actionable timeframe.

3:05 Close of Conference

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