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Research Axes

Immune Diseases and Cancer

Mission and themes

Immune diseases and cancer are among the most severe pathologies that affect patients treated at the CHU Sainte-Justine.

The CHU Sainte-Justine is responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of more than 65% of pediatric cancers in Quebec and is the only accredited pediatric bone marrow transplantation center in Quebec. Also, the CHU Sainte-Justine is one of the world leaders for research and management of patients with immune diseases. To address the medical issues related to immune disorders and cancer, the axis has strategically prioritized research in hematopoietic malignancies as well as functional genomics and cell/gene therapy for both immune diseases and cancer

Some of the most innovative experimental approaches in cellular and molecular biology and bioinformatics are used to resolve research issues related to these disorders. The three strategic themes incorporate fundamental, applied and clinical studies in order to clarify the origins of these pathologies, thereby improving the transfer of knowledge for diagnosis, prognosis and/or treatment.


Cell-based immune therapy, such as the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, is currently the most promising therapy for the treatment of certain types of cancer. In 2018, the world saw the first CAR T cell trial being approved by the FDA to treat children. Our researchers are developing new and creative solutions for more efficient, safer and sustainable CAR-based cell therapies going beyond the T cells. Furthermore, identification of proteins that leukemia stem cells need to survive and thrive is a major goal in the field, because such proteins represent new targets for treatment. Genomics, proteomics, single-cell analysis, and disease modelling are part of the functional genomics strategy to understand the molecular signature of pediatric cancers and develop more efficient therapeutic approaches.

The axis has also a strong expertise in fundamental immune biology to be exploited for studying the mechanisms of immune diseases and for the development of new immunotherapies for a range of immune disorders and malignancies. Efforts are also made to advance gene therapy for immune deficiencies and non-malignant hemopathies applying cutting edge gene-editing approaches.

The axis has established important national and international collaborations, such as the Primary Immunodeficiency Treatment Consortium, the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium and as such has been strongly involved in Phase I and II clinical trials for pediatric cancer patients, patients suffering immune disease or transplant complications.

The axis favors a pluridisciplinary approach with expertise in genetics, epidemiology, pharmacogenetics, biostatistics, oncology, physiology/cell biology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, immunology, gene therapy, pharmacology, nutrition, biochemistry, pathology, molecular biology, virology, hepatology, microbiology, gastroenterology, infectiology and surgery.

Researchers


Themes

Cancers: mechanisms, new therapeutic approaches and disease outcomes

Severe hematologic diseases

Immune diseases: mechanisms, new therapeutic approaches and disease outcomes

About this page
Updated on 10/16/2018
Created on 8/8/2014
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