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MEDICA LABMED FORUM: Discussions on Hot Issues, Current Trends and Innovations in Lab Medicine

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 12 Sep 2023
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Image: Trade fair audience in the Laboratory Equipment & Diagnostics theme area (Photo courtesy of Constanze Tillmann/ Messe Düsseldorf)
Image: Trade fair audience in the Laboratory Equipment & Diagnostics theme area (Photo courtesy of Constanze Tillmann/ Messe Düsseldorf)

This year, the MEDICA LABMED FORUM will once again be a part of the renowned international medical trade fair MEDICA (Düsseldorf, Germany) scheduled for 13-16 November 2023. The forum aims to cover a wide range of topics including cancer, heart diseases, infections, new anti-bacterial substances, and the role of digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine. Over the years, the forum has gained significant attention as an integral part of the trade fair. Despite the complexity of the subjects for discussion, all presentations have been designed to be concise, clear, and understandable, and can be continued further in panel discussions.

The inaugural day of MEDICA will dive into two particularly controversial subjects that are stirring up the laboratory medicine community: the "In-Vitro Diagnostics Regulation" (IVDR) and its implications for smaller IVD companies and specialized labs, as well as the growing role of AI with its potential and pitfalls. There will be an in-depth discussion on how to navigate the challenges brought about by new EU guidelines for diagnostic test quality assurance. This will be followed by an engaging discussion on how AI technologies, such as machine learning, are poised to transform lab work, particularly in automating the evaluation of microscopic images and complex data, like those used in leukemia diagnosis.

The second day will focus on a discussion of groundbreaking advancements in the fields of oncology and cardiology. Recent research has highlighted the powerful diagnostic capabilities of blood tests in cancer treatment and management. Circulating tumor cells and nucleic acids, for example, are emerging as secondary but vital methods, providing new angles beyond traditional tissue examinations in oncology. Meanwhile, molecular diagnostic tests are reshaping cardiology, offering enhanced risk assessments for arteriosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, genetic tests are gaining significance in the treatment of congenital heart defects, and new concepts like thromboinflammation are coming into play.

The third day of the Forum is traditionally allocated to the next scientific generation in the field of laboratory medicine. Every year, young participants are invited to report on their current research and give an outlook on the future of the scientific field. The leitmotif for 2023 is “data sciences," which captivates young minds, particularly due to the intelligent analysis of huge lab data sets. Presentation subjects will range from AI-enabled image evaluations to the analysis of complex lab data and automated generation of diagnostic reports. The discussions will also include the subject of practical applications in healthcare settings and the diagnostics industry.

The final day of the MEDICA LABMED FORUM will kick off with an overview of diagnostic techniques that significantly cut down the time required to detect pathogens, thus allowing timely and effective treatment strategies. There will be a special focus on the rapid identification of the bacteria causing sepsis and targeted antibiotic usage. Moving beyond traditional antibiotic treatments, innovative ways to combat resistance will be explored. This includes discussions on alternative approaches like using small molecules against bacterial toxins or exploring phage therapy.

To wrap up the event, there will be a deep dive into “Next Generation Sequencing” (NGS) and bioinformatics, with a spotlight on characterizing the microbiomes of newborns, a notably vulnerable patient group. Another traditional feature of MEDICA is the forward-looking presentations related to future trends in diagnostics and life sciences, with a special focus this year on infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance, recognized as an escalating health crisis. The forum has steadily grown over the years, with last year's MEDICA and its parallel event COMPAMED drawing a crowd of 81,000 professionals, 75% of whom were from international backgrounds.

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