Ruban Rose for Elisabetta Marangoni

Valérie Devillaine
10/08/2020
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Her background always focused on breast cancer and her high level of expertise in xenografts have earned Elisabetta Marangoni - researcher at Institut Curie - the prestigious Ruban Rose award this year.
Elisabetta Marangoni

€110,000 and three years to explore the energy metabolism of breast cancer metastases and test new therapeutic options: Elisabetta Marangoni is excited about these new research opportunities offered by the Ruban Rose award. A jury decision naturally motivated by Marangoni’s long-standing commitment and experience in this field.

 

After her childhood spent in Switzerland, Elisabetta Marangoni chose to study biology “because I was interested in the mechanics of cells,” but “in conjunction with pathology.” The many scientists and physicians in her family no doubt influenced this decision... She began her university studies in Italy, where, for her Masters 2, she focused on a field connected to oncology. She then headed for France to do her PhD at the Institut Gustave-Roussy (in Villejuif) before joining Institut Curie, where she has now been for twenty years. And she has not strayed from the field of breast cancer since her meeting with Marie-France Poupon.

She was the first in Europe, at Institut Curie, to make breast cancer xenografts

 she recalls.

Elisabetta Marangoni immediately recognized the potential for research of these preclinical models that reproduce the behavior of human tumors in another organism. Before her mentor’s retirement, she continued her lab work on these precious biological tools. And of course it was a research project based on these xenografts from patients that earned her the Ruban Rose award this year.

Marangoni has just published a very promising result in the renowned journal, Nature Communications. Through these xenografts, she demonstrated that an enzyme known as PLK1 - already well known for its role in cell proliferation - was particularly abundant in breast cancer metastases resistant to hormone treatment and medications that inhibit the cell cycle. She went even further by testing a PLK1 inhibitor on these models and found that the tumors regressed, in some cases even disappearing completely. With these discoveries under her belt, she applied for the Ruban Rose award with a project to continue down this path by more generally studying the energy metabolism of these metastases, and testing other medications already used to block this energy metabolism in other pathologies. The Ruban Rose jury recognized the potential of her project:

I very much appreciate this recognition and I can’t wait to put this award to good use. Institut Curie offers the ideal framework for this type of work, with the expertise and know-how of the Preclinical investigation laboratory, the presence of high-level researchers at the Research Center, and the many opportunities for collaborations with physicians, pathologists, surgeons and geneticists from the Hospital Group.

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