Dr Christophe GROSSET (INSERM Bordeaux)

Since 2012, Dr Christophe Grosset has been studying hepatoblastoma, a liver tumor that affects very young children. Today, the main difficulty is to treat patients suffering from metastases or from an inoperable tumor resistant to treatment. With the support of the Eva pour la vie association, the team has set up a new model of hepatoblastoma in the chick embryo which makes it possible to test the effectiveness of new therapeutic molecules (such as microRNAs) and of facilitate the study of these tumors in the laboratory. It has also shown the value of a drug already used in the treatment of certain leukaemias, to treat children with very aggressive liver cancer.

From these initial results and following the arrival of three researchers in the team, new projects have emerged and are carried out in collaboration with bioinformaticians, chemists and French and foreign clinicians. One of these projects aims (i) to study the role of a protein, which modifies the DNA of cells and participates in the formation of the most serious tumors, and (ii) to test the effectiveness of several inhibitors of this protein, knowing that some of these inhibitors are already used clinically in the treatment of adult cancers. A second project aims to study the mechanisms of energy production by hepatoblastoma cells, to find their weak point and then to block this source of energy in order to prevent the development of tumor cells. All of this work aims to study the molecular content of the most dangerous hepatoblastomas in order to find innovative therapeutic solutions to effectively treat children with these cancers.


In a first project, with the support of the Eva pour la vie association, the team sought to block the action of beta-catenin using microRNAs, small RNAs that act as biological switches and form a new family of therapeutic molecules. Among the 1,712 microRNAs tested, she selected four (let-7i-3p, miR-449b-3p, miR-624-5p and miR-885-5p) which strongly decrease the level of beta-catenin protein and inhibit its oncogenic action in hepatoblastoma cells. The miR-624-5p microRNA is the most efficient of the four and blocks the formation of hepatoblastoma in the chick embryo. These results, which made the cover of the scientific magazine Hepatology Communications , demonstrate the interest of this tumor model for testing new therapeutic molecules in the laboratory.

In a second work, the team studied the molecular content of 25 hepatoblastoma tumors by RNA sequencing. Bioinformatics and microscopic analyzes of tumor tissues have shown the interest of the four genes HSD17B6, ITGA6, TOP2A and VIM in classifying hepatoblastomas into three different groups. In the most aggressive group called “C2A”, we have shown that the “Fanconi anemia” molecular pathway plays a very important oncogenic role and allows tumor cells to resist chemotherapy. Using an inhibitor of this pathway, we were able to stop the growth of C2A hepatoblastoma cells, destroy them and inhibit the development of hepatoblastoma in mice. These results show that this treatment, already used in the treatment of certain leukaemias in adults and children, could be used to treat children with aggressive hepatoblastoma type C2A. All of these results are summarized in the scientific magazine Hepatology .

In a third work published in the journal Oncotarget , we describe in more detail the interest of the hepatoblastoma model implemented in the chick embryo and its usefulness for testing therapeutic molecules. Our results show that in chickens, Huh6 hepatoblastoma cells form tumors quite similar to those developing in patients. This model is therefore very useful for researchers because it identically reproduces the stages of formation of a hepatoblastoma and makes it possible to easily study this cancer in the laboratory. The team also analyzed by RNA sequencing the molecular content of these tumors during their formation in chickens and identified several genes that could play an important oncogenic role. We therefore plan to study them. In conclusion, this new model will allow us to test different types of anticancer molecules and to better understand how a hepatoblastoma develops, with the key to new treatment possibilities.
Read the interview on CARENEWS (September 2018)

December 2020 Update - New Research on DIPGs (Brainstem Tumors)
Thanks to the support of Eva Pour la Vie, Pour Emma, Scott & Co and Grandir Sans Cancer, a new project will start in January 2021 within the INSERM-MIRCADE team in Bordeaux. The goal of this project is to identify new drugs capable of killing DIPG cells from a catalog of more than 900 molecules. In order to accelerate the transfer of these results to patients and facilitate the opening of new clinical trials, the anti-cancer molecules tested will either already be available in the hospital (drugs with Marketing Authorization), or in progress. evaluation (clinical trials) in the treatment of cancer in adults or children. After selecting the most promising molecules, the team will study the ability of the most effective drugs to kill DIPG cells using two DIPG tumor models in chick embryos and in mice (models put in place in the team by Dr Martin Hagedorn). The second objective of this work is to study the effect of the most efficient molecules on the behavior of DIPG cells using cellular, molecular and high resolution microscopy imaging approaches. Indeed, knowing today how these molecules act is to prepare the development of tomorrow's drugs. By choosing to test these anticancer drugs, we hope to find new therapeutic solutions to treat children with brainstem tumors.

This completely new project calls on the skills and know-how of the MIRCADE team in the GITC study (see recent publication in the journal Neuro-Oncology ) and in the search for the most effective compounds among a library of several hundred of candidates (see the 2017 publication on Childhood Liver Cancer ). This work will be carried out by Guillaume Herrault, Master 2 student at the University of Poitiers, and Farah Rahal, doctoral student in the team, under the joint supervision of Drs Christophe Grosset and Martin Hagedorn.



WE ALSO SUPPORT ..

Dr Fabienne MEGGETTO (INSERM Toulouse)

Dr Fabienne Meggetto is research director at INSERM Toulouse, within a team of excellence whose research work focuses on lymphomas in children. The Eva pour la vie association has decided to provide aid of 50,000 euros for the start of an ambitious and transversal project, which could make it possible to find new therapeutic avenues for lymphomas with a poor prognosis, but also, others. solid tumors such as neuroblastoma. ...

Dr Annie SCHMIDT (INSERM Nice)

The preclinical research project of Dr Alliana Schmid's team focuses on the treatment of pulmonary metastases from osteosarcoma by combinations of immunotherapy.

The aim of this project, which is unique in France, is to evaluate, in a preclinical model of pulmonary metastases from osteosarcoma - a cancer with a poor prognosis which particularly affects adolescents - the effects of a treatment combining two complementary immunotherapy strategies. The Eva pour la vie association is providing funding of 50,000 euros over 3 years, representing the entire cost of this project.


Dr Eddy PASQUIER (CNRS Marseille)

Dr Pasquier's research work mainly focuses on the repositioning of drugs which consists of testing, in new therapeutic indications, drugs already approved by the health authorities. The aim of this work is to identify new therapeutic targets for the most difficult to treat cancers and thus improve the care of patients suffering from these aggressive forms and refractory to treatment . In particular, pediatric cancers (neuroblastoma), brain tumors affecting children as well as adults (glioblastoma, medulloblastoma) as well as certain rare forms of cancer (angiosarcoma).



Dr Marie CASTETS (INSERM Lyon)

The work of the INSERM team co-directed by Dr Marie Castets (CR1 Inserm, HDR) and Dr Jean-Yves Blay (PUPH, HDR) focuses on cell death and cancers. Thanks to the support of Eva pour la Vie (55,000 euros) and other associations, this team is currently developing these lines of research on rhabdomyosarcomas, osteosarcomas and neuroblastomas ...



Dr Martin HAGEDORN (INSERM Bordeaux)

Since September 2014, Dr Martin Hagedorn has been leading a team of researchers (Caroline CAPDEVIELLE , Farah RAHAL, Justine CHARPENTIER and Mélissa MENARD) which devotes its research work to the identification of new therapeutic targets in brainstem tumors and to the improvement of its treatment methods. Work recognized by several European scientific teams & experts.



Dr Patrick AUGUSTE (INSERM Bordeaux)

For more than 20 years, this teacher-researcher has been working on cancer. And it's been almost 10 years since he went to kidney cancer or renal cell carcinoma. By joining the team of Dr Christophe Grosset (Inserm, MiRCaDe team), he wanted to use his experience and take a new step forward by working on childhood cancer. He is the initiator of an ambitious project, which involves several surgeons, doctors and international researchers, on the study of nephroblastoma (or Wilms tumor) in children, co-funded by the association Eva pour la vie and Aidons Marina ...



Prof. Sébastien PAPOT (University of Poitiers)

At the end of 2018, the Nouvelle Aquitaine region agreed to co-finance with Eva for life the research project "Biological and preclinical studies of new anticancer agents, including some targeting EZH2 / PRC2, in the treatment of highly proliferating hepatoblastoma", led by Prof. Papot and Dr Grosset. The Eva pour la Vie association covered up to 50% of the cost of the purchase of laboratory equipment (in the amount of € 9,000) necessary for the smooth running of this work.

Dr Max PIFFOUX (Center Léon Bérard, Lyon)

Doctor Max PIFFOUX - under the responsibility of the "Apoptosis and cancer" team coordinated by Aurélie DUTOUR at the CLB - is the scientific manager of the following research project: "Autophagic induction as a booster of response to immunotherapies: trial of a new therapeutic class, calorie restriction mimetics, in the pediatric osteosarcoma model ". Eva pour la vie & Aidons Marina have decided to co-finance the launch of this project, by providing a grant of 40,000 euros.

Dr Olivia FROMIGUE (Institut Gustave Roussy)

Resistance to treatment is a major clinical problem, in particular in the case of osteosarcomas, bone tumors affecting children or adolescents. Indeed, chemotherapy, associated with surgery, is the central pillar of current treatment. However, many osteosarcomas are or become resistant to these antiproliferative drugs. Recurrences and / or the appearance of metastases are then frequent. 2 out of 5 patients cannot be cured! Osteosarcoma is therefore a pediatric cancer with a poor prognosis for which it is absolutely necessary to identify ways to counteract resistance to treatment in order to improve the chances of recovery for patients.



Epidemiological research

If the development of therapeutic routes adapted to the child is essential (to try to save the children who today, remain without a therapeutic solution and / or to reduce the side effects), we do not forget an equally strong reality: over the past 50 years, the number of children affected by cancer has never declined. Much remains to be done in terms of prevention, both in terms of research and regulation. Eva pour la vie is actively involved by co-financing environmental studies. The first of these, HAPPI, aimed to have the KUDZU SCIENCE laboratory analyze dust samples taken in homes bordering vines - welcoming children or pregnant women - as well as in a primary school classroom.