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Lambertine-Lacroix Prize - Cancerology 2018: Ch Desmedt

Press release (09/05/2018)

2018 Lambertine-Lacroix Prize - Cancerology awarded to the researcher Christine Desmedt of the Jules Bordet Institute, Université Libre de Bruxelles

9 May 2018 – Christine Desmedt, researcher at the Jules Bordet Institute, was awarded this Tuesday 8 May the Lambertine-Lacroix Prize from the National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) for her extensive research into our understanding of the molecular biology of breast cancer.

Christine Desmedt

Every four years, the Lambertine-Lacroix Prize is awarded by the National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) to a researcher of particular merit for his or her translational research on cancerology (1).

In her research work Christine Desmedt, together with the team from the Jules Bordet Institute J.-C. Heuson Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory (BCTL) – ULB-Cancer Research Center, has sought, among other things, to investigate the biology of breast cancer and better understand its progress (appearance of metastases) with the aim of improving care for patients suffering from this disease.

Christine Desmedt, with her team, focused particularly closely on a better molecular characterisation of breast cancers of the lobular type with a view to optimising treatment. A four-year study of lobular breast cancers, which account for between 10% and 15% of breast cancers, served to identify the various gene mutations specific to lobular cancers by using DNA sequencing technologies. This study, which made it possible to identify genomic anomalies particular to lobular cancers, suggests that these cancers could benefit from a different therapeutic approach than for other types of breast cancer whereas today they are treated in the same way.

The study of the initial tumour biology and of the various metastases of a group of patients who died from their illness made it possible to reconstitute the progress of the disease. The conclusions of this study suggest that at least one metastatic lesion (and if possible several) should be biopsied and analysed at the time of a breast cancer recurrence, especially if this recurrence is several years after the initial cancer given the potential modifications of the genomic profile in terms of the metastatic disease. Determining this genomic profile using high throughput sequencing techniques, targeting a set of predetermined aberrations that are clinically relevant, could in some cases be useful in making the treatment decision, especially in the choice of targeted treatments.

The awarding of the Lambertine-Lacroix Prize to the researcher Christine Desmedt on 8 May is wonderful recognition for the research work she has carried out for more than 15 years in the field of research against breast cancer. Work that has brought very promising prospects for the treatment of these cancers.

(1) The National Fund for Scientific Research – FNRS awards a Lambertine Lacroix Prize every two years, alternatively for translational research on cancerology and translational research on cardiovascular disease. The translational nature of research indicates an approach that includes a fundamentally scientific approach to clinical problems. Research of this kind covers all stages ranging from laboratory research to the patient's bedside, and/or from the patient's bedside to the research laboratory.

Attached: Photo of Christine Desmedt, PhD, bio-engineer and researcher at the Laboratory for Translational Research into Breast Cancer at the Jules Bordet Institute, headed by Prof Christos Sotiriou, MD, PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the FNRS, Director of the BCTL. The BCTL is part of the U-CRC (ULB Cancer Research Center).

Press contacts (Institut Jules Bordet)