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The new generation of researchers doubly rewarded

Press release (15/05/2018)

The new generation of researchers doubly rewarded.
Double Merit Award of the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2018 in the field of breast cancer for two young researchers at the Institut Jules Bordet

Brussels, 16th May 2018 – On 15 May 2018, Noam Pondé and Matteo Lambertini, researchers at the Institut Jules Bordet, both received a Merit Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for their unique work in the field of breast cancer research: respectively, a T-DM1 cardio-toxicity study (targeted therapy) and a pregnancy study of patients with a history of HER2+ breast cancer. This is great recognition for these two young researchers, filled with passion and motivation, at the beginning of a promising career.

Research at the APT / CTSU of the Institut Jules Bordet rewarded
Drs Ponde, de Azambuja, LambertiniMatteo Lambertini and Noam Pondé are part of this generation of young international scientists, eager to practice research in a renowned international centre such as the Jules Bordet Institute. In the APT / CTSU (Academic Promoting Team & Clinical Trials Support Unit) of the Institut Jules Bordet, data of more than 8,000 cancer patients are analysed within a specific research framework with rules involving patient agreement. Thanks to this important database, both researchers have developed two studies that provide a better understanding of targeted therapy treatments and their side effects on patients. For these studies, they were each rewarded with a Merit Award of the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO. This award recognises significant projects and studies that advance the fight against cancer.

Noam Pondé and the T-DM1 cardio-toxicity study
Noam Pondé's study focuses on patients with HER2+ breast cancer (15-20% of all breast cancer cases) in the metastatic stage to demonstrate if T-DM1 has consequences on the cardiac system. T-DM1 is the combination of Trastuzumab (a monoclonal antibody) which, supported by DM1 - a powerful chemotherapeutic agent - specifically recognises, integrates and directly destroys cancer cells that overexpress the HER2 receptor present on their surfaces and is responsible for the proliferation and survival of cancer. This type of treatment, also called targeted therapy, in addition to high efficiency, reduces side effects. Based on an accurate database of 1,961 patients, Noam Pondé determined that treatment with T-DM1 did not result in cardiac risk. However, the cardiac system of older patients receiving this treatment should be evaluated more carefully. This study is the largest and most comprehensive on the subject to date.

Matteo Lambertini and the study of pregnancy in patients with a history of HER2+ breast cancer
The research project carried out by Matteo Lambertini focuses specifically on patients around 40 years old with a history of HER2+ breast cancer who were treated with Trastuzumab and / or Lapatinib (two therapeutic agents that target the HER2+ receptors of cancer cells) and who fell pregnant during or after their treatment. The analysis and study of data from 92 patients, included in two international studies for which forms containing individual pregnancy information were collected, yielded two important conclusions. Firstly, the prior administration of treatment did not lead to complications during pregnancy, neither for the mother nor for the child. Secondly, five patients had an unplanned pregnancy while taking the Trastuzumab and / or Lapatinib treatment; taking it during the first trimester of pregnancy did not cause any complications. This last conclusion remains inconclusive given the small number of patients studied.

The international face of research at the Institut Jules BordetMatteo Lambertini, from the University of Genova, San Martino Hospital, Italy, is now involved in cancer research at the Jules Bordet Institute thanks to the ESMO - European Society for Medical Oncology. This organisation allows young oncologists to take on fellowships in renowned medical institutions; in other words, practical research internships to carry out clinical / translational research projects. Noam Pondé, a native of Brazil, chose research to change the lives of patients and from there, develops his study project in Belgium. Both students at the Institut Jules Bordet, they chose the Institute for part of their doctoral theses for its international fame, especially through the work of Martine Piccart, particularly in the field of breast cancer research. Alongside Dr Evandro de Azambuja, head of the Medical Support Team (APT), they improve the daily lives of cancer patients. "I was very pleased to hear that two of our Fellows received a Merit Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO. This Merit Award is a very important recognition for these new researchers and allows them to participate in a conference that brings together more than 35,000 participants, all with one goal: to conquer cancer! This represents an international recognition of our Institute. I am pleased and very proud of Matteo and Noam. This is just the beginning of a promising career for each of them", says Dr de Azambuja.

For more information on the award:

Publications references:

  • An individual patient level data pooled analysis of T-DM1 cardiac safety in HER2-positive (HER2+) metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients. Abstract number 10068, Noam Pondé.
  • Pregnancies during and following trastuzumab (T) and/or lapatinib (L) in patients (pts) with HER2-positive (HER2+) early breast cancer (EBC): Analysis from the NeoALTTO (BIG 1-06) and ALTTO (BIG 2- 06) trials. Abstract number: 10065, Lambertini M et al,

Attached : photo of Noam Pondé, Dr Evandro de Azambuja & Matteo Lambertini

Press contacts (Institut Jules Bordet)