“Dominique Dormont” HIV Thesis Prize 2023 from the ANRS/SFV awarded to Priscila Binta El Kazzi, Rémi Mascarau and Elenia Toccafondi
On May 3, 2023, three “ANRS | Emerging infectious diseases / French virology company” thesis prizes for fundamental and translational research on HIV were presented at the annual Work in Progress (WIP) meeting of the AC41 “Hosts/Virus Interactions”, at PariSanté Campus. This year, the “Dominique Dormont” prize rewards three young scientists for their outstanding innovation and original and high-quality research in the field of fundamental HIV science (including virology, immunology, vaccinology, hosts/pathogens interactions, modeling, inflammation, co-infections and treatments).
The 2023 winners are:
- Priscila Binta El Kazzi, for her thesis “The Interplay of RNA N7- and 2’O-methylation in viral replication”, under the supervision of Etienne Decroly within the “Viral Replication, Structure, Mechanisms & Drug-Design” team at the “Architecture and Function of Biological Macromolecules” laboratory (CNRS, UMR 725), at the University of Aix-Marseille.
- Rémi Mascarau, for his thesis titled “Study of the intercellular transmission of HIV-1 to macrophages by cell-to-cell fusion”, under the supervision of Christel Verollet and Brigitte Raynaud-Messina, in the “Architecture and dynamics of phagocytes” team at the Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale (IPBS) (CNRS, UMR 5089), based in the University of Toulouse III Paul-Sabatier. He was awarded a research grant by the agency.
- Elenia Toccafondi, for her thesis “Identification of specific phylogenetic properties of HIV-1 M and O integrases”, under the supervision of Matteo Negroni, in the “Retrovirus and molecular evolution” team at the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IBMC) based in the University of Strasbourg. She was awarded a research grant by the agency.
The five winners of the Call for Expressions of Interest (AMI) for the UNIBASE program unveiled
The Health Data Hub and Unicancer joined forces to implement the UNIBASE program in 2022 with the aim of accelerating cancer research based on real-life data, resulting in a first AMI which selected three initial multicenter projects. Joined by the Ligue Contre le Cancer, the organizers of the second wave unveiled five new winners on May 9, 2023, during an event organized at PariSanté Campus.
Five multicentric and innovative projects will benefit from technical and regulatory support of up to €200,000 per project.
The HORUS project, supported by Gustave Roussy and the INSERM “Radiation Epidemiology” team of the CESP-Unit 1018, will lead to the creation of a new cohort of patients who were treated for pediatric cancer before the age of 25 and who have received innovative anticancer treatment. This cohort will be formed by aggregating data from various sources based on the young patient’s neoplastic history, and matching them with the French National Health Data System (SNDS). These data will allow the team to assess the morbidity and real-life mortality of such patients in order to evaluate their potential toxicities and better prevent, scan and treat them.
The UNI-AJA project, supported by the Léon Bérard Center and the Institut de Cancérologie de Lorraine, aims to constitute a retrospective cohort of adolescents and young adults (aged 15-29) suffering from cancer or malignant hemopathy and who were treated in ten healthcare facilities between 2009 and 2022. The aim of this cohort is to study the care pathway and outcome of these patients. It will be linked with data from the National Health Data System to enhance the information available about this population.
The HYPO-RT Prostate project, supported by the Oscar Lambret center, evaluates new “hypo-fractionated” radiotherapy techniques applied to prostate cancer. These techniques involve increasing the dose delivered to the patient at each session, and reducing the number of sessions compared with traditional radiotherapy. The project aims to determine the distribution of these new techniques and their accessibility by patients and to evaluate their real-life efficacy and toxicity.
The CASEBA project supported by the Institut Curie focuses on low-grade serous ovarian cancer, an emerging pathology only recently diagnosed as such. The main aim of the project is to feed into a multimodal database and link it with cancer patients’ health insurance data. This will make it possible to measure the effect of the care pathway on patient survival, and to improve the radiological diagnosis of this cancer in order to offer patients specific, optimal care.
The UNIRIV project supported by the Centre Léon Bérard and the Institut Gustave Roussy focuses on a new metastatic prostate cancer therapy using internal vectorized radiotherapy. This project aims to identify biomarkers from scintigraphic imaging, which will make it possible to predict the efficacy of treatment in order to offer improved patient care thanks to the centralization of clinical, biological and imaging data from a large number of patients from several centers.
Five winners selected for IMPACT, the mental health innovation acceleration program
IMPACT aims to promote mental healthcare innovation with value-creating projects in the mental healthcare pathway via technologies that respond to needs in terms of prevention, early detection, diagnosis, clinical strategy, city-hospital coordination and therapeutic uncertainty, with a scope extended to child and adult psychiatry and dementia in the elderly.
This call for projects was a resounding success, with a total of 51 applications submitted, 35 finalized and 10 approved and presented to the selection committee. Each startup presented its project in front of two panels, the shortlisting committee and the grand jury, both consisting of medical experts representing the health innovation ecosystem. The winning startups were revealed on May 16. They will benefit from a nine-month personalized support program to accelerate their deployment, with strong involvement from the initiative’s partners.
The five winners are as follows:
- Callyope develops voice-based remote monitoring tools to assess the efficacy of treatments and detect the onset of a relapse. Its platform analyzes hundreds of clinically confirmed vocal biomarkers in order to assess the severity of psychiatric and cognitive symptoms linked to severe depression, bipolarity and schizophrenia.
- Healthy Mind is a business that specializes in the development and marketing of digital therapies (DTx) that combine neurosciences and immersive virtual reality. Since 2018 it has been marketing Healthy Mind VR, a Class I medical software device with the CE mark, which combines neurosciences, medical hypnosis and virtual reality immersion to reduce hospital patients’ pain and anxiety. Healthy Mind is currently developing a next-generation device called NeuroMind to offer a therapeutic tool for major depression that can be used at home, based on a virtual reality technology linked to neurofeedback.
- O-Kidia is an R&D company whose aim is to develop and market reliable and innovative digital solutions to improve the diagnosis, therapeutic orientation and monitoring of any clinical benefit relating to neurodevelopmental disorders and associated mental health problems in children and adolescents. O-Kidia is a digital clinic that makes it easier for patients and their family environment (carers) to navigate care pathways and aims to improve clinical benefits for patients and the clinical practice of healthcare professionals.
- Sêmeia is a pioneer and major operator in medical remote monitoring and an expert in medical data. It has developed MentalWise, a platform to help in medical decision-making that is used to collect, restore and analyze healthcare data based on clinical algorithms and AI. The aim of the solution is to both improve patient care and save caregivers’ time. Sêmeia is different in that it collects data automatically (biological, clinical, and pathway) and allows intelligent, personalized retrieval of patient data.
- Shifters has developed a unique digital program (contained in a mobile app) that combines artificial intelligence and cognitive neurosciences, enabling staff working in shifts (such as nurses, military personnel, workmen and stewards) to finally experience a restorative sleep pattern. The improvement in their sleep means a better quality professional and personal life, which in turn leads to an improvement in their mental health (with fewer depressive symptoms, less anxiety, irritability and so on).