Translational research programs

Introduction

The incidence and mortality rates for cancer in the Nord-Pas de Calais Region are the highest in France, particularly for upper airways cancer (affecting the lips, mouth, larynx and pharynx), oesophageal cancer and lung cancer. For other types of cancer (colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer), although the incidence rates (the number of individuals likely to develop diseases out of a given number of people over a given timespan) remain high, it is above all the mortality rate which is the highest in France (see the report entitled “Le cancer en France” (Cancer in France), published by the Cancer Institute).

http://www.e-cancer.fr/toutes-les-actualites/9303-linstitut-national-du-cancer-publie-son-rapport-les-cancers-en-france-en-2014

The reason why this situations is so serious is partly due to the region’s industrial history and partly due to the unfavourable socio-economic and educational context. Risky patterns of behaviour are more frequent and increase the public’s reluctance to avail itself of screening and the healthcare on offer.

ONCOLille scientists and clinicians are responsible for improving the public health situation in the field of cancerology for the Nord-Pas de Calais region. This stake is crucial for the research teams, for whom the human dimension is overriding.

This determination takes the form of promoting outstanding fundamental, translational and clinical research that is not focused on particular tissues or organs. It targets two crucial questions in the field of combating cancer, providing the basis of the two research orientations developed and providing the reference for the ONCOLille SIRIC:

Program 1:

How do you explain the resistance of tumours to locoregional treatments (surgery, radiotherapy and targeted chemotherapy)?

This orientation works in particular on gastro-oesophageal cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, as well as on certain tumours of the brain (glioma) and of the ovaries.

Program 2:

How do you explain the persistence of cancerous cells (sometimes for decades) after the end of treatments and remission of the patient?

In particular, this orientation is interested in malign blood diseases, breast cancer, prostrate cancer, and melanomas (skin cancer).

A transverse program in the field of human and social sciences is also integrated into these two research orientations, which explores the role of the human factor (the patient, his or her family members and healthcare personnel) as part of the screening approach and during the diagnostics and treatment phase.

Lastly, these two research orientations rely on four shared platforms which enable priority access to sophisticated equipment items and experts’ advice in the field of molecular and cell biology, imaging, the development of relevant animal models, and of methodology and clinical research.