After the successful organization of the 43rd edition of its Annual Meeting in Marseille, France in 2017 – when for the 1st time the 5,000 delegates mark was reached - EBMT provided an unrestricted grant to the institution where the President of the Local Organizing Committee usually works. The grant was used to support two young investigators.
Dr Sophie Thévenet , PharmD, was hired for 6 months at the “Centre de Thérapie Cellulaire” headed by Pr Christian Chabannon at Institut Paoli-Calmettes, the Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Marseille. Dr Thévenet contributed to the onboarding process for CAR-T cells as well as other gene therapies that can now be used to treat both adult patients at the Department of Hematology headed by Pr Didier Blaise at IPC and pediatric patients at the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology headed by Pr Gérard Michel at Marseille University Hospital, CHU de Marseille, AP-HM. Dr Thévenet also prepared the submission of the necessary application to the French Competent Authority (ANSM, Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des produits de santé) in order to obtain a “gmp license” (“Autorisation d’établissement MTI-PP) to prepare small batches of investigational Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products for evaluation in early phase clinical trials. At the end of the EBMT sponsored initial period, Dr Thévenet was permanently hired by Institut Paoli-Calmettes, where she now shares her time between the hospital pharmacy and the cell processing facility, in a pragmatic approach to fulfill regulatory and operational constraints for this new class of medicinal products.
Dr Lining Wang M.D., traveled from Shanghai Rui Jin Hospital (China) to join the Hematology Department headed by Pr Didier Blaise, and the Immune Monitoring Laboratory headed by Pr Daniel Olive. She worked there for 6 months, with the objective to validate a multiparameter flow cytometry panel to assess ligand expression for gdT cells on human ALL samples. Dr Lining Wang was able to explore the variability in ligand expression across different ALL patients; in addition, in vitro degranulation tests of autologous gdT cells allowed to evaluate the impact of ligand expression on gdT cell cytotoxicity. The combination of these two approaches provides new insights in autologous gdT cell cytotoxicity, and provides the biological basis from which to develop innovative therapeutic approaches.