First held in 2001, this annual Bayer meeting has been attracting increasing numbers of delegates year on year. The 2005 event was attended by packed audience of Clinical Virologists and other healthcare professionals who heard presentations on the latest developments in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) testing and the future for Molecular Diagnostics. The meeting was chaired by Dr Siobhan OShea, Principal Virologist from Guys and St Thomass Hospital who co-ordinated the presentations agenda and helped to stimulate lively discussion on the topics covered.
In her opening address, Dr OShea commented on the speed at which Clinical Virology has moved forward in the past five years, particularly in the field of Molecular Diagnostics. This observation was strongly reflected by five guest speakers. Dr Mark Atkins, Consultant Virologist at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, described the vital role played by laboratories in the management of HIV infected individuals and how this, complemented by availability of todays wide range of anti-retroviral drugs, now offers HIV patients a realistic option of having a near-normal lifespan.
Dr David Dunn from the HIV Division of the Medical Research Centre Clinical Trials Unit then described trends which have been identified using data from the UK HIV Drug Resistance database that was first established in 2001, revealing that there is an increasing number of patients with viral resistance to all three major HIV drug classes.
Dr Heather Cubie, Consultant Clinical Scientist at the Specialist Virology Centre in Edinburgh, addressed delegates on the potential role of HPV testing in the diagnosis and management of cervical cancer, welcoming the trend towards closer collaboration between Cytologists and Virologists in this area. This was followed by a presentation on current and future trends in Molecular Diagnostics by Dr Pangiotis Pantelidis of the Pan Pathology Molecular Diagnostics facility at Guys and St Thomass Hospital who foresaw that entire laboratories will one day be contained in a single chip, with all patient testing being performed at the point of care.
Inside the famous Crush Room at the Royal Opera House, delegates had the opportunity to preview Bayers latest branched DNA (bDNA) analyser - the Versant® 440 Molecular System - which is due for launch in 2006. To date bDNA technology has demonstrated proven productivity and reliability and eliminates nucleic acid extraction steps associated with PCR methods and the risk of contamination. The new Versant 440 Molecular System offers laboratories improved workflow facilitated by total flexibility, enabling runs to be initiated at any time during working periods and the ability to run the system over the weekend unattended. The Versant 440 Molecular System completely automates bDNA, HIV, HCV and HBV assays.
In a presentation by Adrian Ralph, Bayers Sales Director for the UK and Ireland, about the future strategic direction of Bayer Molecular delegates learned about Bayers intention to continue investing in proprietary bDNA, Trugene® and LiPA technologies, to develop a competitive kinetic PCR (kPCR) system and also to invest in the development of genomic biomarkers for use in Oncology, cardiovascular, psychiatric and inherited diseases.
Following these presentations, delegates then enjoyed a backstage tour of the Opera House and a champagne reception.
For more information about Bayer Diagnostics Molecular Diagnostics Systems please contact Fiona Howe or telephone: +44 (0) 1635 566248.