Olivier Delattre receives an ERC Synergy Grant with the "kill or differentiate" project
Millions of new cancer cases are diagnosed each year and we don't yet know how to treat them all effectively. Until now the most effective approach against the disease has been to attack and destroy the tumor cells. But what would happen if instead we could act on the very nature of the cell, by modifying its aggressiveness and preventing the consequences of current invasive therapies?
The project will receive funding of €9.3 million
Thanks to their new ERC Synergy Grant subsidy, professors Igor Adameyko, Susanne Schlisio, Peter Kharchenko and Olivier Delattre will integrate innovative molecular and statistical techniques, along with bioinformatics, to find a way to act on the cancerous nature of the cells themselves. Their idea is to prevent the natural development of cancer cells towards the metastatic phase, a process that is not adequately controlled by current treatments.
An inter-disciplinary effort, and a key to the mystery of new cancer treatments
To achieve this they will work to understand the signals that the tumor cells exchange with one another and with the environment, and how these signals lead to cell differentiation. If they succeed in decoding these messages, they can use them to trigger the cell alterations desired, and change the nature of the cancer.
Professor Adamyeko is a developmental biologist at the Medical University of Vienna. Professor Schlisio is a cancer biologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Professor Kharchenko is based at Harvard Medical School in the United States. A biologist in informatics, he is known for his work on mathematical methods of single-cell analysis. Lastly, Dr. Delattre is a pediatrician and cancer geneticist at Institut Curie in France. He is research director at Inserm, director of the Inserm/Institut Curie mixed research unit "Cancer Biology and Genetics", and director of the SIREDO Oncology center (Care, Innovation & Research in Childhood, Adolescent & Young-Adult Oncology). He is also head of the Somatic Genetics unit in the Cancer Genetics department at Institut Curie.