TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH AT THE ICM : FOCUS ON 3 PROJECTS

Research Published December 22 2015
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The ICM model, which brings together high-level clinicians and researchers within a single institute enables them to conduct a translational research of excellence, essential link between fundamental research and clinical research.

This research will allow patients to benefit more quickly from diagnosis and treatment innovations. 3 clinicians/researchers in pairs share their research topic, their progress and their hopes for 2016.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE : THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, A POTENTIAL TARGET FOR A FUTURE TREATMENT ?

Cécile Delarasse, researcher, and Stéphane Epelbaum, clinician, work together to identify a new therapeutic target in the immune system to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Cécile Delarasse is interested in the immune system’s role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Her work in the lab on preclinical models have shown that there was a direct link between a malfunction of the immune system, regardless of aging, and the formation of amyloid lesions, typical of Alzheimer’s disease. It is the assumption Stéphane Epelbaum and Cécile Delarasse wish to confirm by setting up a clinical research protocol aimed at measuring and comparing healthy subjects’ immune systems responses (controls) and from patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Their goal is to understand the immune system’s role in the development of the disease and particularly of macrophages (microglial cells) which have the ability to destroy amyloid plaques.

BRAIN TUMOURS : UNDERSTANDING THEIR DEVELOPMENT TO BETTER DIAGNOSE AND TREAT THEM

Emmanuelle Huillard, team leader at the ICM, and Marc Sanson, clinician, are attempting to understand how brain tumours are developped, and to identify markers to diagnose and treat them.

This collaboration is illustrated in the complementary skills of each and every one. Marc Sanson has a clinical approach focused on the patient in order to characterise tumours, detect new mutations and find new biomarkers. Emmanuelle Huillard works on fundamental research to understand tumour formation mechanisms and the mutated genes’ role both in a normal context and during the development of a tumour.

Thus, in order to issue and verify her assumptions, Emmanuelle Huillard needs clinical samples, and to figure out what is happening in a subject, Marc Sanson, refers to work conducted in the lab. This constant dialogue between them allows to improve their research, to understand more quickly the mutations in patients’ tumours.

The ultimate goal is to achieve the development of personalised treatments through a complete “ID” of the tumour and its consequences on cells.

HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE : A SYNTHETIC OIL TO SLOW DOWN THE PROGRESSION OF SYMPTOMS

Fanny Mochel and Alexandra Durr, both clinician-researchers are trying to confirm through a large-scale international clinical study the positive results of a synthetic oil to slow down the progression of Huntington’s disease symptoms.

This neurodegenerative and hereditary disease appears between 30 and 50 with the onset of motor and behavioural impairments as well as progressive psychiatric disorders, leading to a strong dependence impacting the family.

Fanny Mochel and Alexandra Durr have just demonstrated the potential of an oil-medicine in ten patients : triheptanoin. By improving the energetic functioning of the brain, this oil may moderate the progression of the disease. Fanny Mochel, a specialist in metabolism, in collaboration with Alexandra Durr, following the patients, are coming closer to a treatment that could slow down the atrophy settling in the patients’ brain. Together, they are initiating the therapeutic trial phase which takes place in France and in the Netherlands, on a hundred patients in order to validate the 1st completed study.

Their discovery may also open new therapeutic leads for diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, which are also neurodegenerative diseases.