We have taken an unusual and exciting step with the AACB conference for 2015.
The 2015 meeting has the major clinical theme of “Partnerships in Testing” so disease, diabetes and endocrinology are the central focus.
For the first time we are having a “diabetes feature day” and an “endocrine feature day” where leading experts from Australian Diabetes Society (ADS), Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA) and the Endocrine Society of Australia (ESA) are invited speakers and the members of these associations are warmly invited to attend as delegates at AACB member rates and likewise contribute abstracts for posters and oral presentation. Day 3 also has a part clinical theme of “Bone Health”.
To demonstrate the AACB partnership with the 3 associations we have invited two primary prominent clinicians from Sydney who are friends of AACB to be Clinical Co-chairs at the ASM: Associate Professor Steve Twigg PhD, FRACP, who is an endocrinologist and the medical head of Endocrinology Research Laboratories at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney, past president of Australian Diabetes Society (2008 – 2010). Steve has been an invited speaker at AACB in the past and is loyal supporter of AACB.
Associate Professor Rory Clifton Bligh PhD, FRACP who is also an endocrinologist and conjoint associate professor in Medicine at the University of Sydney and Staff Specialist in Endocrinology at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney with primary interests in thyroid cancer and metabolic bone disease research. Rory is a Fellow of the Faculty of Science, RCPA who eagerly promotes the links between AACB, the clinical sphere and scientists in research laboratories.
The keynote speaker and David Curnow Lecturer for 2015 is Professor Graeme Eisenhofer from the University Hospital Dresden, where he is the coordinator of a Clinical Research Unit focusing on disorders of adrenal function. Prof Eisenhofer’s earlier substantial work at the NIH put plasma free metanephrines at the forefront of adrenal investigation and his expertise in LC-MS makes him an invaluable contact to advise Australasian laboratories moving in this direction. AACB is very fortunate to have secured Prof Eisenhofer for the Sydney 2015 conference and we have worked with Graeme to facilitate his additional visits to Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Christchurch during his visit. His will be in Adelaide in August as an invited speaker at the ESA ASM.
Diabetes Feature Day
The opening plenary is a comprehensive and vigorous 3 way presentation of HbA1c for diagnosis by AACB luminaries Graham Jones and Chris Florkowski with the state of the union reports, and the esteemed ADS and ADIPS chair Aidan McElduff who has spoken strongly on HbA1c at Australian, European and at the ADA in the US. Our diabetes program is condensed in one day with a clinical symposium on advances in the understanding of complications and a detailed “disease mechanisms and research” symposium. We have Prof Richard MacIsaac professor and director of Endocrinology and Diabetes at St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne in a “quasi –debate” against A/Prof Graham Jones about “retiring microalbumin” from routine testing. So the diabetes feature program will start from HbA1c and end with urine albumin and many laboratory interest areas in between.
Endocrine Feature Day
Day-2 has an endocrine disease focus with the keynote address on phaeochromocytoma by Prof Graeme Eisenhofer. The afternoon plenary experts are Michael Stowasser to give the aldosterone counterpoint to the Eisenhofer address and Prof Ken Ho who will deliver a frank appraisal on adequacy of current laboratory tests for pituitary disease. A/Prof Ann McCormack who leads the Hormones and Cancer group at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney and the Sydney Pituitary Collaborative Group will focus on cortisol assays and how assay performance directly impacts on monitoring of Cushing’s patients.
During the ESA feature day there will be 9 speakers with significant expertise. Prof Carolyn Sue, Director of Neurogenetics at Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, and Director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research will speak on her experience with FGF 21 testing and importance as an emerging marker of metabolic status. Invited speakers are A/Prof Anju Johan from Monash who set up Australia’s first non-fertility based PCOS centre, Prof Iain Clarke also from Monash who is the Australian expert on neuropeptide function and Prof David Kennaway from Adelaide on neuro-metabolic rhythms that underscore health and are disrupted in many chronic diseases. We also feature the expertise and experience of 4 outstanding scientists in Sydney; Catherine Woolnough, Diana Benn, Lyn Boscato and Michael Wright.
Bone Health Day
The RCPA-QAP update and the important QAP Patient Comments Program proceed on Day-3 where we are privileged to have A/Prof Graham Jones delivering the APFCB travelling lecture. In a shorter program on Bone Health there are symposia on laboratory testing by Dr Ee Mun Lim from Perth, role of FGF 23 by co-chair A/Prof Rory Clifton Bligh and feature speaker Arthur Conigrave Associate Professor in Medical Biochemistry and Metabolic Medicine at the University of Sydney who’s lab has studied the biochemistry of the calcium sensing receptor and responses to micronutrients in the diet. The afternoon symposium will be on vitamin D. Michael Wright will advise labs on the implementation of vitamin D analysis by LCMS in routine testing. This is followed by a “special request for clarity on the deluge of vitamin D literature” to two Australian vitamin D experts (Prof Howard Morris and Prof Chris Florkowski) who will advise on how we make sense of the current frenzy of interest in vitamin D and explaining the true direction in the science of vitamin D.
To complete the ASM Prof Tony Badrick will conduct the first “Hypothetical” at AACB. This event is a special treat for delegates - in true Geoffrey Robertson style Tony will take the audience through one of the most challenging and stressful scenarios faced by all laboratories in the modern era: “what to do with a hyperkalaemia in the dead of night”. He will be fearless in the challenges he directs to our “live” panel of experts and he will demand answers where answers don’t exist. For interstate visitors, make sure you book a later flight home so that you do not miss the “moral minefield of hyperkalaemia” at the Sydney ASM.
We hope you can join us in Sydney in September for this exciting meeting.
Chair, Scientific Program Committee