The National Histology Conference was a collaborative endeavour this year as hosts Histology Group of Victoria worked together with histology groups from Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia to create a true national conference. Held in Hobart, Tasmania, it is the first instance of the conference being held in a state without an organised histology group in the hopes of exposing the histology meeting to a broader audience.
Many of this year’s conference sessions highlighted the increasing molecular influence within the histology discipline. For example, the Department of Anatomical Pathology at St Vincent’s Hospital described the steep learning curve for histology scientists when Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques were brought in house, and Meghan Leo from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre addressed the applications of fluorescent in-situ hybridisation (FISH) in histopathology.
Also on display at the conference was the tremendous amount of research currently being undertaken into cancer identification and management and the impetus to use less invasive and risk free diagnostic procedures through liquid biopsies. Professor Allen Chan, Professor of Chemical Pathology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong discussed the development of the group’s non-invasive prenatal test for the detection of foetal aneuploidies, a test that is being rapidly adopted across the globe, and other advances in circulating tumour DNA analysis, including its potential use for the screening of early cancers. Associate Professor Kevin Spring from Liverpool Clinical School at the University of Western Sydney and Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, talked about the future potential use of liquid biopsies in histopathology, indicating while a conventional biopsy is regarded as the gold standard for diagnostic examination and supply of histopathologic data, a large amount of research is beginning to show how liquid biopsies can provide a deeper understanding and guidance in the identification and treatment of cancer.
Overall, it was encouraging to hear about the move within the histology discipline toward state-of-the-art histopathology laboratories in the developing world. At the same time, it was very humbling to hear of the challenges faced by less advanced countries like Papua New Guinea where there is a strong need to simplify and provide cost-effective disease recognition and management.
Sysmex’s Delphic AP Single Piece Workflow generated a great deal of interest among the delegates, with Sysmex staff – Garrick Wilson and Vinay Nannepaga – providing continuous demonstrations throughout the two-day conference. The optional specimen tracking module for the Delphic AP solution offers labs the ability to adopt a lean, automated lab workflow and encourages the move from batch based specimen handling to individual case processing. It was a great opportunity for Garrick and Vinay to discuss with the predominantly histology lab staff in attendance the benefits of emerging innovative technology, like Single Piece Workflow, and what this can offer the labs including improved quality and efficiency, reduction in potential lab errors, and complete specimen traceability. Those interested in more information following the conference, should contact Garrick on firstname.lastname@example.org
The next National Histology Conference will be held in 2019 and we look forward to seeing if some of the predictions for the future of histopathology come to fruition and continuing our support of the national conference.