Journees Internationales de Biologie 2009

Organised by the Syndicat des Biologistes (SDB) the annual meeting in November, under the auspices of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC), the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFCC) and the French Society of Clinical Biology (SFBC), the Journees Internationales de Biologie (JIB) aims to meet the needs of the 10,700 professional biologists who practice in France.

Jane MacDougall reports

Photo: Journees Internationales de Biologie 2009
Photo: Journees Internationales de Biologie 2009

Biological laboratories are very important to the French healthcare system, where the analyses of medical samples are performed in almost 6,000 laboratories, the majority of which in the private sector, performing 64% of all tests prescribed by doctors. The ‘biological density’ of France is higher than any other European country with an average of 65 laboratories per million of the population, or 9 biologists/100,000 inhabitants. According to 2005 figures, these labs perform approximately €3.9 billion worth of analyses annually.

2009 saw a new record for the number of participants at JIB this November, when over 10,000 visitors arrived and more than 150 stands were set up. For exhibitors there was another exposure: they could list their latest products at the JIB website. Information on over 160 new products is available for viewing at www. jib-sdbio.fr.

In addition to the trade show visitors could also attend a very interesting scientific programme, in which this year’s major topic was the biology of cancers, as well as the latest advances and future hopes for cancer. During this session, coordinated by Professor Gilles Fauvre (Toulouse), the presentations were structured to show how important the links between researchers, clinicians and biologists are if we want patients to benefit from the optimal treatments available and also as we work towards a future of personalised cancer treatments. International experts covered topics that included the environment of the tumour cell, transfer of knowledge to clinical biology, oncohaematology, digestive cancers, hormone dependent cancers and screening.

The FSCB (French Society of Clinical Biology) organised their meeting session around the current hot topic in clinical biology -- accreditation. The latest results from the working party on accreditation were presented. JIB also aimed the spotlight on biology in Morocco with an afternoon session presenting this country’s practices in cancer and in infectious and nutritional diseases.

Finally, the meeting closed after an in-depth session on personalised cancer treatments, which included patient testimonies and workshops from two of JIB’s industrial partners, bioMérieux and Roche Diagnostics, which demonstrated how biomarkers are being used to tailor specific cancer treatments.

Lab Tests Online – now available in French

The French version of this worldwide tool was unveiled during the JIB meeting by Etienne Caniard, President of the HAS committee for the quality and diffusion of medical information, during a meeting of the scientific committee of the SFBC.

In partnership with the SFRL (union for in vitro diagnostics) and EDMA (European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association), the French Society of Clinical Biology (SFBC) invested in the translation and adaptation of Lab Tests Online, the non commercial website dedicated to patients. First developed by the AACC in the USA (http://www.labtestsonline.org) the site has already been translated and adapted for use in several different countries including Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland and the UK, and an agreement with China was also expected this November. Since its creation there have been more than 200 million visits from patients and it provides a sustainable resource of increasing quality in healthcare for their use. Indeed the patient’s right to accurate, reliable and easy-to-understand healthcare information is fundamental to the philosophy of Lab Tests Online, which aims to promote this right by helping European citizens to understand better what happens to their blood samples in clinical laboratories and what the results of the laboratory tests actually mean. The French site also includes the recommendations for these tests by the National Health Authority (HAS) and other governmental bodies.

Laboratory tests are among the most important aspects of modern medicine. Many healthcare decisions, from diagnosis through to therapy and prognosis are reached from the results of clinical laboratory tests. Reliability of tests results is therefore of the utmost importance. The creation of a site such as Lab Test Online, which is written by clinical biologists themselves, is another step towards the demands for quality, openness and standardisation required for accreditation. Professional clinical biologists from different specialties are involved in the project and it is planned that the site should be completely ready by the end of 2010. Today information on the 60 tests most frequently requested in France can be found at http://www.labtestsonline.fr

26.01.2010

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