A Research project targeting the use of oncogenic mutations to reproduce human cell carcinogenesis from different mutation combinations.
Paris, October 28, 2019 – Servier and École polytechnique signed a corporate sponsorship agreement for teaching and research in the field of oncology, one of Servier Group’s priority therapeutic areas. This is the very first biology sponsorship for the École polytechnique.
Designed for a five-year period, the focus of this sponsorship agreement is a research project aimed at reconstructing the tumour-cell transformation process by using mutations identified in patients. The experimental work will be carried out by École polytechnique Biology students who will coordinate the project’s progress and ensure project continuity through individual promotion. Students will have the opportunity to train in research activities and contribute to a challenging project seeking to provide insight into the mechanisms of cancer development. The project will be headed up by Alexis Gautreau, Research Director at CNRS, Professor at École polytechnique, and President of the Biology Department. Laboratory work is to be organized and assisted by a Research Engineer from the Ecole polytechnique, who will be dedicated to this project full-time.
The purpose of this research is to shed new light on the mechanisms of cellular transformation. It will help identify biomarkers indicative of different stages of cancer progression and establish a cell lineage to emulate the patient’s tumour. Chemotherapy and targeted therapies can then be tested on the cell line to determine the best therapy for the patient.
“This research sponsorship program will give École polytechnique Biology students the opportunity to address a crucial topic with a critical patient objective: The research project will dive into the most topical concerns in oncology today, give students the opportunity to personally experiment with gene cloning, undertake genome editing using CRISPR type technologies, and perform cell phenotype analyses,” explained Alexis Gautreau, who is also responsible for educational programmes on “Diseases and Therapeutic Strategies” that deal specifically with cancer and precision medicine, tailored to each patient group.
From theory to practice
Students will be able to get as closely involved as they would like and clone a gene or two. They may also be able establish inactivated lines for certain tumour suppressor genes using genome editing technologies. The Research Department will validate each student’s research work with ECTS credits commensurate with their investment.
An ambitious research project
The ultimate goal of the research project is an ambitious one, as recreating cell lineage with mutations found in a single patient has never been realized. This project gives students the chance to be immersed in pioneering research. They could then be associated with publications describing the research results and even attend international conferences.
“We are delighted about this partnership, whereby Servier will provide École polytechnique students with an experimental biology setting that will allow them to understand the mechanisms of cancer development. Training through research is an excellent motivator for students, and the project led by Alexis Gautreau is a great opportunity to create an invaluable learning experience for future researchers,” concludes Christophe Thurieau, Executive Director of the Servier Research Institute.
  ECTS : European Credits Transfer Scala
Servier is an international pharmaceutical company headquartered in Suresnes, France and governed by a Foundation. With a solid international presence in 149 countries and a turnover of €4.2 billion in 2018, Servier employs 22,000 people worldwide. Totally independent, the Group reinvests 25% of its turnover (excluding generics) in Research and Development and uses all its profits for development. The Group’s growth is based on the constant pursuit of innovation in five areas of excellence: cardiovascular, immune-inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, and diabetes, as well as high-quality generic medicines. In addition, Servier also provides e-health solutions. For more information: www.servier.com
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