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Laureates of the prematuration grants 2020

Melissa Dewulf
08/03/2020
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In 2020, we funded three prematuration projects which will allow to develop innovative projects with the will to develop technology transfer.
Congratulations to all of them!
Plateforme de criblage phénotypique Biophenics

This year, we funded three projects all related to cancerology with one focusing on immunology in cancer, a second on targeted cancer therapy and one cancer biomarkers identification.

 

Premat laureates 2020

Discover the funded projects

  • Ana-Maria Lennon-Duménil (Institut Curie) - Targeting the lysosomal calcium channel TRPML1 to enhance antitumor immunity | Our past research on the migration of immune cells has identified the lysosomal calcium channel TRPML1 as a target whose pharmacological activation increases the efficacy of “checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies” on tumor rejection. Our preliminary results suggest that this is due, at least in part, to a positive effect of TRPML1 on the infiltration of tumors by immune cells, one of the key points known to limit the effectiveness of these immunotherapies. Here we propose (i) to extend our preliminary study carried out in a murine model of colon cancer, by a proof of concept in 2 other tumor models responding differently to anti-checkpoint antibodies and (ii) to elucidate the underlying mechanisms, taking advantage of pharmacological and genetic tools available in our laboratory. This study will strengthen our patent thereby facilitating funding of the later stages necessary for the development of an innovative drug until the clinic.
  • Ludger Johannes (Institut Curie) - Lectibodies to eliminate tumors | Tumor cells have altered glycosphingolipid (GSL) expression patterns compared to healthy tissue. In a recent prioritization of cancer antigens by the National Cancer Institute (USA), 4 out of 75 were GSLs. Yet, GSLs are rarely exploited for tumor targeting. The aim of this proposal is to develop the potential of lectibodies, a new class of groundbreaking therapeutic products that are uniquely designed to recognize GSLs. Based on our propriety lectibody libraries, in this prematuration program, we will optimize our lectibody technology to transport cytotoxic compounds specifically into cancer cells, for targeted therapy with low toxicity. We will initially focus on lectibodies that target 3 important cancers: neuroblastoma, prostate and breast cancer, the most frequent cancers affecting children, men and women, respectively. In the longer term, we intend to broadly exploit this platform technology via industrial partnerships and the creation of a start-up, to apply it to the treatment of other cancers.
  • Antonin Morillon (Institut Curie) - Revealing and validating novel urine and blood biomarkers for prostate cancer using artificial intelligence | Prostate cancer, the third leading cause of death from cancer, remains poorly diagnosed and even after a biopsy, patients at risk are wrongly stratified and their treatments not always appropriate. We designed a molecular and artificial intelligence-based pipeline to identify unreferenced RNA biomarkers with unprecedented performance in the diagnosis of prostate cancer, and produced a proof of concept on the urine of 55 patients. We propose to validate this signature on an international multicentric cohort for a urine test, but also to illuminate new blood biomarkers for a prognostic approach. Our goal is to produce a rapid and robust non-invasive test for the diagnosis and classification of prostate cancer for the most aggressive and metastatic types. Performed before biopsy, it will restrict this procedure only to the positive cases and will constitute a decisive aid between active surveillance and treatment.
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