Introduction

Organized for several years by the Office for Science and Technology of the French Embassy (Boston section), FAID is an annual French American symposium that aims to foster the development of collaborations between France and the USA in an innovative research area.

For the first time, 2009 FAID is organized in partnership with an industrial partner, Mérieux Alliance, and is held during two consecutive days on December 3rd and 4th 2009.

The 2009 FAID is dedicated to “Theranostics and Biology: Know-How Challenges, Applications & Breakthroughs".

Helped by the emergence of new, and more and more accurate technologies, the identification of new elements, cells, molecules, pathways, involved in a disease allows to understand and decipher the mechanism of the pathology but also, to identify candidates for therapy targets and/or diagnosis purposes.

Pushed forward by the interest to find relevant biomarkers, technologies (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, glycomics etc…) have gained in performance and accessibility, including price, for the users. In addition, domains of expertise than were traditionally apart, combine now efforts around shared goals and applications, as, among other examples, spectrometry and genome sequencing.

New ways to think about an illness, its diagnosis and therapy are also challenged: as studying biomarkers in more unusual fluids than blood or urine, but instead in saliva, sweat, intestinal flora and sputum; as using new, adjuvant or stratifying approaches in order to better identify which therapy will be more relevant for a given patient.

This new field of interest has been called theranostics encompassing terms as predictive medicine, personalized medicine, integrated medicine, and pharmacodiagnostics. Launched at the beginning to look for biomarkers able to witness the efficiency of new pharmaceutical compounds, theranostics now includes all biomarker able to guide the health care worker and system in the management of a patient or a larger population.

Primarily dedicated to Cancer, biomarker discovery is spreading to new areas of interest and health threats as Infectious Diseases, Alzheimer or Stroke.

Therefore many putative biomarker candidates arise every day from the academic research teams and are proposed for development to industry. But the transfer from academic elaboration to industrial deployment and application, as a diagnosis test or a therapeutical target, is indeed very long. A lot of requisites are due related to the clear and strong, bias-limited, validation of both the clinical message carried by the biomarker and the robustness, sensitivity, specificity of its method of analysis.

The 2009 FAID will review the first day, the current state of the art of the theranostic approach in Cancer, around high level speakers coordinated by Prof Fabien Calvo and by Prof Mauro Ferrari. The second day, the 2009 FAID will allow innovative projects to be presented and analyzed  for their potentiality to be transfered from bench to industrial development.