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    Research project

    "Evaluation in a murin model of xenograft melanoma of vascular mimicry by Laser Speckle Contrast (LSC) and Contrast Ultrasound (CEUS) in PD-1 inhibitor-treated melanomaPD-1"


    Team: Information, Signal, Image Processing and Life Sciences

    Labeling: none

    Term: 2018 -


    Funding: Ligue contre le cancer

    LARIS staff involved: Anne HUMEAU-HEURTIER (PR)


    Project Partners: Nicolas CLERE,researcher at the Mint - Samir HENNI, head of vascular medicine department at CHU and researcher at Mitovasc and Laris units


     Source: article UA mag no. 18


    Reveal the hidden face of melanomas

    An association of Angevin research teams uses new imaging techniques to observe the microvascular phenomena that accompany the development of some tumors. Objective: to quickly get an idea of ​​the evolution of a cancer, to adapt if necessary the treatment.

    Do you know "vascular mimicry"? It is the ability of tumor cells to create, in some conditions, tubular networks like vessels. As a result, the tumor is better nourished with blood, it grows and spreads more easily in the rest of the body, reducing the chances of survival of the patient a little more.

    The difficulty is "to detect this vascularization very early, to get an idea of ​​the evolution of cancer, and in function, adapt its treatment. This is the challenge we want to meet, "says Samir Henni, head of vascular medicine at CHU and researcher at Mitovasc and Laris.

    The research project was born from a joint reflection with Professor Christophe Aubé, head of the radiography department, and his dermatology counterpart, Ludovic Martin. It's about melanoma, a cancer of the skin. The goal is to quantify vascular mimicry through two medical imaging techniques: control ultrasound and Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI). "These are two techniques that we already use elsewhere, for other functions. But, for the first time, we will apply them on melanomas to see if we can get information on their vascularization, "says Samir Henni, who recalls that Angers is one of the European reference centers for LSCI.

    Multidisciplinary team

    To achieve this end, the project sponsor joined the pharmacologist Nicolas Clere, researcher at Mint, and Anne Heurtier, member of Laris, professor of computer science specializing in signal processing and image applied to the biomedical sector.

    The first stage of the program, which began in April 2018, has been entrusted to Nicolas Clere. The goal is to develop - on mice - two models of melanoma, one aggressive, the other slower, treated with molecules commonly used in human medicine. In a second step, microcirculation images around the tumors will be made by Samir Henni, before and after treatment (with anti-PD1 antibodies), through the two aforementioned techniques. It will remain to exploit these images "to bring out information that is not visible to the naked eye today," says Anne Heurtier. This is also where innovation lies.

    The benefits of this pre-clinical study could be important. Melanoma is only a model here. If the results are relevant, the imaging techniques studied could be used for the control of vascular mimicry in humans, and for other forms of cancer. "This is part of the personalized medicine strategy," says Nicolas Clere. If we succeed in transcribing this in humans, it means that we can follow more accurately the evolution of a cancer, its response to treatment and adapt the care based.

    With the League Against Cancer

    The program is supported by the League Against Cancer, for € 27,350, through to funding from departmental committees in Maine-et-Loire, Indre-et-Loire and Sarthe. "We are honored that they trust us," insists Samir Henni, "and measure all that that entails."