SOURCE: Cambridge Healthtech Institute

Cambridge Healthtech Institute

September 23, 2016 11:30 ET

Dr. Dennis Lo to Deliver Keynote Presentation at CHI's Fourth Annual Advances in Prenatal Molecular Diagnostics Conference

Pioneer of Cell-Free DNA Sequencing to Address Emerging Developments in Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing

NEEDHAM, MA--(Marketwired - September 23, 2016) - Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI), a division of Cambridge Innovation Institute, is pleased to announce that Dr. Y.M. Dennis Lo, Chairman, Chemical Pathology and Director of the Li Shing Institute of Health Science at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, will deliver the keynote presentation at the Fourth Annual Advances in Prenatal Molecular Diagnostics conference.

Dr. Dennis Lo is credited with the discovery of fetal DNA in maternal plasma. Over the last five years, his discovery has transformed prenatal testing with rapid acceptance of these tests, shifts in medical guidelines, timely reimbursement decisions, and a strong decline in the rate of invasive prenatal procedures. Dr. Lo and his group continue to be at the forefront of this technology, and have developed several new approaches for extending the utility of cell-free DNA for prenatal testing. By using thousands of methylation markers exhibiting tissue-associated methylation signatures, Dr. Lo and his group have been able to provide new insights into the origin of plasma DNA, and to attribute an observed aberration in plasma DNA to its source. Dr. Lo's keynote presentation at the conference is entitled, "Pushing Towards the Limit for Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing."

A key challenge for cell-free DNA prenatal testing is that the segments of fetal cell-free DNA are mixed in with larger quantities of cell-free DNA of maternal origin. This is a major reason why cell-free DNA-based tests are considered to be screening assays, for which invasive testing that can provide a certain diagnosis is regularly recommended. Dr. Lo's recent work makes use of two different approaches, both differences in fragment size and differences in methylation patterns, to distinguish fetal and maternal cell-free DNA. By combining several approaches, it may be possible to make cell-free DNA into a diagnostic test that avoids the need for separate confirmation. This could become important competitively, as strong advances have been made towards the commercialization of a competing non-invasive approach, based on isolation of fetal cells from maternal blood, which will also be covered at the conference.

Dennis Lo received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cambridge and the Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Oxford. Following his training at Oxford, he was appointed as the University Lecturer in Clinical Biochemistry and Honorary Consultant Chemical Pathologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the teaching hospital of the University of Oxford Clinical School. He was also a Fellow at Green College, Oxford.

In recognition of his work, Dr. Dennis Lo has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2005 State Natural Science Award from the State Council of China, the 2006 International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) -- Abbott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Molecular Diagnostics, the 2006 US National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry Distinguished Scientist Award, a Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship, the 2007 Sigi Zeiring Award from the American Association of Clinical Chemistry and Fulbright Distinguished Scholar 2009. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011 and as a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Cambridge Healthtech Institute's Fourth Annual Advances in Prenatal Molecular Diagnostics conference provides attendees with two and a half days of coverage of prenatal testing, including: isolation and analysis of fetal cells from maternal blood, cell-free DNA screening, and biomarkers of preeclampsia and pre-term birth, and is immediately followed by Reproductive Genetic Diagnostics which will examine advances in preimplantation and infertility diagnostics.

For a full agenda and program details, please visit: http://www.healthtech.com/prenatal-diagnostics.

About Cambridge Healthtech Institute (www.healthtech.com)
Cambridge Healthtech Institute (CHI), a division of Cambridge Innovation Institute, is the preeminent life science network for leading researchers and business experts from top pharmaceutical, biotech, CROs, academia, and niche service providers. CHI is renowned for its vast conference portfolio held worldwide including PepTalk, Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference, SCOPE Summit, Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, PEGS Summit, Drug Discovery Chemistry, Biomarker World Congress, World Preclinical Congress, Next Generation Dx Summit and Discovery on Target. CHI's portfolio of products include Cambridge Healthtech Institute Conferences, Barnett International, Insight Pharma Reports, Cambridge Marketing Consultants, Cambridge Meeting Planners, Knowledge Foundation, Bio-IT World, Clinical Informatics News and Diagnostics World.

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