WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 | 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

SC1: Innovative Technologies for Imaging CTC Phenotype, Drug Response and Metastasis

This course covers advanced methods for isolating CTCs and imaging with high-resolution microscopy methods. Application of these techniques to live patient CTCs will be presented to both characterize CTC phenotype and drug responses. Whole-animal imaging techniques to trace CTC metastasis in mice and zebrafish will also be discussed.

Topics to be covered:
  • Viable CTC capture technologies and propagation strategies
  • Existing microscopy and flow-based imaging technologies
  • Emerging confocal, light sheet and superresolution techniques
  • Imaging CTC metastasis in zebrafish and mice
  • Connecting CTC characteristics with patient outcome and drug response

Who should attend this course:

Oncologists, cancer researchers, pharmaceutical researchers, people involved in clinical trial design and patient selection for clinical trials (responsive vs. non-responsive population identification).

Detailed Agenda

10:00 am Welcome and Introductions

10:10 Presentation by Stuart S. Martin

10:55 Refreshment Break

11:10 Presentation by Stuart S. Martin

12:40 pm Interactive Q&A with Instructor and Participants

1:00 Close of Short Course


Stuart_MartinStuart S. Martin, PhD, Professor of Physiology, Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Dr. Martin received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego, after training as a Howard Hughes undergraduate research fellow at the University of Virginia. Dr. Martin completed a Damon Runyon postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School that combined functional genomic studies with mouse models of breast tumor metastasis, under the mentorship of Dr. Phil Leder. In 2004, Dr. Martin joined the Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Martin is working to apply physical science and engineering approaches to the study of cancer metastasis. In 2010, Dr. Martin was one of only three investigators nationwide recognized with an Era of Hope Scholar Award from the Congressionally-directed Medical Research Program for his innovative research on breast cancer metastasis.

1:00 - 1:30 pm Lunch Provided for Short Course Participants

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 | 1:30 - 4:30 PM

SC2: Making the Most of Clinical Samples: Understanding the Methods of Standardized Blood Collection, Handling, and Processing to Optimize Circulating Biomarker Analysis

For liquid biopsies, optimal conditions for blood collection and sample preparation are critical to enabling accurate analysis. This short course discusses factors that are important to consider in reducing pre-analytical variability in the collection and handling of blood samples, cell-free DNA isolation and quality analysis. Through a case study reviewing the experiences in workflow optimization from a dedicated hands-on biomarker laboratory, some best practices and tips will be shared on implementing a standardized process.

Topics to be covered:
  • Implementing appropriate blood collection and sample handling
  • Understanding plasma preparation and cell-free DNA isolation options
  • Choosing an appropriate cell-free DNA quality control quantification method
  • Maintaining standards and consistency with an eye for future clinical implementation

Who should attend this course:

Researchers and lab managers from pharma, biotech and academia working in fields such as molecular oncology, cancer biomarkers, molecular diagnostics, translational research, genetics, and research and development.

Detailed Agenda

1:30 pm Welcome and Introductions

1:45 Building a Robust Pre-Analytical Workflow to Support Standardization and Clinical Utility of Your Cell-Free DNA Applications

Phoebe Loh, Global Product Manager PreAnalytiX, Sample Technologies, QIAGEN

This talk covers an overview of various blood collection tubes, their characteristics and how methods of plasma preparation can affect cell-free DNA recovery. Various isolation methods will be discussed.

2:30 Sample Quality Control of Cell-Free DNA

Melissa Huang Liu, PhD, Product Manager, 2100 Bioanalyzer System & Applications, Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Characterization and quantitation of isolated cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is essential prior to pursuit of downstream experiments. The main component of cfDNA samples is the ~170-bp mononucleosome. However, occasional additional species may be present that may be dependent on the donor’s health status, preanalytical sample treatment, or extraction methods. We discuss considerations for evaluation of cfDNA samples by automated electrophoresis.

2:50 Refreshment Break

3:05 Managing a Busy Biomarker Laboratory: Lessons Learned, New Biomarker Opportunities Created

Rebecca (Becky) Suttmann, MS, Senior Scientific Researcher, formerly Genentech, Oncology Biomarkers

We share a case study reviewing the experiences in workflow optimization from a busy biomarker laboratory evaluating real-time samples collected from cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials across the globe. Some best practices will be shared for tips including the implementation of a standardized process and the careful preservation of any residual material for additional biomarker discovery.

  • Blood collection tubes and sample handling
  • Blood fractionation (cells, extracellular vesicles, plasma, etc.)
  • Blood fraction preservation for later analysis
  • Potential for retrospective analysis of preserved clinical samples

4:10 Interactive Q&A with Instructors and Participants

4:30 Close of Short Course


Becky_SuttmanRebecca (Becky) Suttmann, MS, Senior Scientific Researcher, formerly Genentech, Oncology Biomarkers

Rebecca “Becky” Suttmann, MS, is a research scientist with solid industry background in immunology, cell biology and biomarker development. Her most recent experience includes work at Genentech, developing oncology diagnostics strategies that involve identification and analysis of circulating tumor events. Ms. Suttmann has happily spent her career in the research labs at Genentech, Roche and Syntex. She is committed to the exploratory analysis of human blood in the pursuit of circulating biomarkers of disease for early detection, patient selection and treatment resistance.

Phoebe_LohPhoebe Loh, Global Product Manager PreAnalytiX, Sample Technologies, QIAGEN

Phoebe Loh is the Global Product Manager at QIAGEN for PreAnalytiX, a QIAGEN/BD cooperation dedicated to developing solutions for collection, stabilization and nucleic acid isolation of human specimens for clinical and research workflows, a keystone product being the PAXgene Blood RNA system. Previously in research roles, she was highly involved in genomics, taking part in the sequencing effort of the Human Genome Project with projects centered on sequencing and identifying genes of human chromosome 22q. Later work with RNA, including work with siRNA synthesis at Dharmacon and research on mechanisms of cellular trafficking and gene transport at the University of Rochester Medical Center, then brought her to QIAGEN and PreAnalytix where she focuses on identifying customer needs to direct development of technologies as effective tools for novel workflows.

Melissa_Huang_LiuMelissa Huang Liu, PhD, Product Manager, 2100 Bioanalyzer System & Applications, Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Melissa Huang Liu trained at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City where she obtained a PhD in Genetics and Genomic Sciences. Afterwards, Dr. Liu joined Agilent and held various roles from Technical Support to Marketing Application Scientist. She is currently a Product Manager on the Electrophoresis Team at Agilent and responsible for all things related to the 2100 Bioanalyzer System – from instrument to kits to applications.

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