Highlights from PCRS 2015: CCS Was Everywhere!
In 2015, the breakthrough of the decade is clearly the ability to diagnose embryos for the presence or absence of all 23 pairs of chromosomes, what we call comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS). This years Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS) meeting was dominated by this topic, and appropriately so. There is no doubt in my mind that this has been the most important innovation in in vitro fertilization (IVF) since the advent of ICSI.
At the meeting, 14 of 72 (almost 20 percent) scientific abstracts that were selected for presentation as either oral presentations (2 of 8 oral) or poster presentation (12 of 66) focused on CCS. Three of the 14 major lectures were about CCS or a CCS-related topic. The embryologists workshop was on how to do blastocyst biopsy for CCSsomething our embryologists have been doing, and teaching, for 5 years already. The meeting also featured an entertaining debate, which was entitled Is Chromosomal Screening for Everyone? By the way, it was pretty clear that the argument in favor of CCS for all IVF cases, as argued by Dr. Richard Scott, was clearly the winning argument.
As with most scientific and medical meetings, industry exhibitors come to meet doctors and scientists, and their companies provide educational grants to help support the costs of running these meetings. In the past, these exhibitors were primarily pharmaceutical companies, ultrasound manufacturers, sperm banks, and software developers. But at this years meeting, conventional exhibitors were joined by no fewer than 10 laboratories that are now providing CCS sample analysis on embryo biopsy samples. Some of them, like the company PFC has always worked with, Natera, have been around for many years and are well established in the field. But many of the companies are brand new and it will be interesting to see how they fare in competing with the already-established companies.
So clearly, CCS is a new, disruptive, innovative, and game-changing technology that is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. As an early adopter of such technological advances, PFC has positioned itself well to provide this service in a safe and efficient manner to our patients, many of whom are successfully forming families with the use of IVF and CCS.
- Carolyn Givens, M.D.