Speaker Proposals Now Being Accepted

The growing acceptance and availability of cell-free DNA-based screening from maternal blood is having a dramatic impact on prenatal testing. One result has been the steady decline in the number of women choosing invasive testing, with growing shift away from karyotyping in favor of arrays, or in some cases sequencing, for analysis of these samples. The range of approaches being employed for cell-free DNA testing continues to grow, including the release of kits for in-house analysis and so-called second generation assays that provide much improved detection of sub-chromosomal anomalies. There has been a push to expand NIPT use beyond higher-risk pregnancies, as well as extending the range of genetic conditions reported from the tests, but such changes come at a price.

Research into testing based on isolation of fetal cells from maternal blood has been underway for decades, and the discussion has been couched in terms of “if this approach can be commercialized”. At this meeting last year, for the first time, the conversation shifted to “when this approach is commercialized” as numerous groups reported substantial progress in achieving reliable isolation that would make this possible.

Updated comparisons and examination of these issues, and the implementation of these different approaches, will again make for lively discussion and insight into where this field is headed and ways for researchers, test providers, clinicians and clinics to take these developments into consideration.

Dennis LoSpecial Keynote Presentation:Pushing Towards the Limit for Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing

Y.M. Dennis Lo, Ph.D., Chairman, Chemical Pathology and Director, Li Shing Institute of Health Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Program Advisors

David LedbetterCamera Icon PNDXDavid H. Ledbetter, Ph.D., FACMG, Executive Vice President and CSO, Geisinger Health System

Joe_SimpsoCamera Icon PNDXJoe Leigh Simpson, M.D., Senior Vice President for Research and Global Programs, March of Dimes Foundation


arthur_beaudetArthur Beaudet, M.D., Chair, Department of Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine

Cynthia_MortonCynthia Morton, Ph.D., William Lambert Richardson Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology and Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School; Director, Cytogenetics, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Ronald_WapnerCamera Icon PNDXRonald J. Wapner, M.D., Director, Reproductive Genetics & Vice Chair, Research, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center

Coverage may include, but is not limited to:

  • Bioethical considerations related to new prenatal diagnostics
  • Experiences and challenges of current genetic counseling approaches and capacity
  • Case studies of sequencing analysis of invasively-obtained samples
  • Options and validation of testing for a range of microdeletions, CNVs and translocations
  • Evaluation and considerations for offering cell-free screening for lower-risk pregnancies
  • The potential for in-house non-invasive screening assays
  • Issues with false positives, non-calls and predictive value
  • The potential of advanced sample prep for improving prenatal results
  • The challenges and prospects for commercialization of fetal cell isolation from maternal blood
  • Challenges and approaches for improved analysis of sequencing results
  • Different approaches for reporting of incidental or variations of unknown significance findings
  • Reimbursement and regulatory issues related to prenatal molecular diagnostics
  • Clinical implementation of replacing any current prenatal testing options

If you would like to submit a proposal to give a presentation at this meeting, please click here.

The deadline for submission is May 20, 2016.

All proposals are subject to review by the Scientific Advisory Committee to ensure the highest quality of the conference program. Please note that due to limited speaking slots, preference is given to clinicians, regulators and academics. Additionally, vendors/consultants who provide products, services, and technology to the audience are offered opportunities for podium presentation slots based on a variety of Corporate Sponsorships.

For more details on the conference, please contact:

Phillips Kuhl
Cambridge Healthtech Institute
Phone: (+1) 781-972-5410
Email: pkuhl@healthtech.com

For partnering and sponsorship information, please contact:

Ilana Quigley
Senior Manager, Business Development
Cambridge Healthtech Institute
Phone: (+1) 781-972-5457
Email: iquigley@healthtech.com