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    Team "Leukemia and niche dynamics"

    The team "Leukemia and niche dynamics" has joined the Institut Cochin on December 2019


    General presentation of the team 

    Our laboratory is focused on the study of acute leukemias, which are aggressive blood cancers with very poor prognosis, especially in children and elderly patients. Recent studies have shown that the progression of these leukemias is highly dependent on their ability to interact with the non-malignant environment, which produces fundamental factors for leukemic cells and at the same time adapts to their needs to promote their survival. To decipher this dialogue, we use advanced imaging techniques allowing direct observation of marrow tissue in mouse models of human disease. Using this approach coupled to the molecular analysis, we study anomalies in the architecture and functionality of blood vessels that can support leukemia at the expense of normal hematopoietic stem cells. In addition, to dig into the molecular nature of these anomalies and translate them to humans, we use 3D bio-printing to develop a tissue mimicking the vascularized human bone marrow. The implementation of this new tool will allow to deepen our understanding of the interaction between human leukemia and its environment and learn how we can interfere with it to promote better therapeutic response in patients.





    From left to right: Jorgina Reginold, Litchy Iman Boueya, Diana Passaro, Thomas Bessy et Aleria Duperray-Susini







    What are the recent contributions of the team?

    At the beginning of the year we have completed the first round of recruitments and the team now accounts for 5 members. The two major project lines of the lab have been launched. On the bioengineering side, our 3D bioprinter arrived and the first printing tests are up and running, while collaboration with the cell therapy unit at Saint Louis hospital will ensure samples supply to isolate human niche cells. 

    On the imaging side, we are excited to start using very soon the brand-new multiphoton Leica SP8 microscope at the IMAG’IC platform to visualize the complexity of the bone marrow tissue. The team has also started working on collaborative transversal projects on 3D organoids.

    On the clinical side, we set up a clinical trial “the CLEVAR study” with our collaborators at the Francis Crick and the CRUK-Barts Centre to translate our preclinical results on vascular dysfunction in acute myeloid leukemia. The study will soon be moving into patient recruiting phase. 


    Team financial supports

     Diana Passaro is an INSERM researcher since December 2019 and she launched the team at the same time. From January 2020, Iman Litchy Boueya joined the lab as a Master 2 student. A starting grant from the foundation for medical research (FRM) "amorçage de jeunes équipes" allowed the recruitment of three new members between the end of February and early March 2020, Thomas Bessy (post-doc), Aleria Duperray-Susini (senior research assistant) and Jorgina Reginold (research assistant). From June 2020, the team will receive the ATIP-Avenir awards from INSERM and the ARC foundation for cancer research. These grants will support the different research lines of the lab, as well as the recruitment of new members in the next years. The team will also benefit from collaborative funding from the labex Who am I and the SIRC Carpem.


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