Current drugs are either nonspecific (such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy) killing all cell components of the tumour including protective ones, or too specific of particular components of the tumour cells (eg signaling molecules, tumour antigens …) promoting tumour resistance and relapse. The recent success of immunotherapy that takes into account tumour microenvironment (TME) is an illustration of this concept. Understanding the heterogeneity of tumours to characterize and define the communication between tumour cells, stromal cells, vessels, immune cells and extracellular matrix is thus critically needed to improve cancer therapy. The final objective of this comprehensive approach of tumour physiopathology is to propose new treatments to increase the survival of patients by acting on the globality of tumour microenvironment to mitigate the limitations of traditional treatment approaches. To reach this goal, COMMUCAN (Intercellular communication in cancer biology and therapy) works on the understanding of how intratumour intercellular communication takes place and impacts the disease outcome explore the contribution of these interactions to the failure of presently available treatments, as well as to investigate novel strategies based on a 3D view of tumour tissue rather than on a simple pathway targeting.

COMMUCAN coordinators are :


COMMUCAN should allow to :

  • Identify new regulatory ‘communication’-networks within the TME for tumour progression and metastasis;
  • Further preclinical and clinical validation of newly identified targets and biomarkers within the 
  • Development of novel therapies based on a more global understanding of tumour biology and internal communication between tumour cell types;
  • Development of new nanodevices for therapeutic and diagnostic targeting of the TME.

To reach these objectives, COMMUCAN is divided in several tasks (divided itself in research projects) :

The first which consists in the « study of intratumour communications »: Basic Mechanisms, functional networks and preclinical validation » is led by Dr Violaine Moreau, senior research scientist in the team BARITON, Bordeaux tesearch translationnal oncology, Inserm.

« Bioinformatics, computational modelling, data integration » is led by Prof. Thierry Colin from SOPHiA GENETICS, ex research scientist at Inria and professor at ENSEIRB-MATMECA and Dr Macha Nikolski, bioinformatician, head of the centre de bioinformatique de Bordeaux CBiB and head of MAbioVIS, Labri.

« Development of nanomedicine formulations as tools to target specific biomarkers and investigate critical signaling pathways identified in Task 1 and Task 2 » is led by Prof. Sébastien Lecommandoux, full professor at ENSCBP-Bordeaux and leader of a research team in the Laboratoire de chimie des polymères organiques LCPO, CNRS in wich also work Dr Elisabeth Garanger and Dr Olivier Sandre both coordinators of this task with Dr Pierre Nassoy senior research scientist at LP2N, Laboratoire photonique, numérique et nanosciences. 

« Clinical research » part is led by Prof. Jean-Christophe Bernhard, surgeon at CHU Bordeaux, Prof. Alain Ravaud, professor in oncology, head of the oncology department in the CHU of Bordeaux, Prof. Serge Evrard, professor in oncological surgery at Bordeaux University and surgery coordinator at Institut Bergonié.

« Social sciences-Oncoeconomics, Philosophy of Cancer Biology  » is led by Dr Phillipe Gorry, research scientist in economy of science, innovation and pharmaceutical industry at Gretah, CNRS and Dr Thomas Pradeu, senior research scientist in science philosophy at ImmunoConcept, CNRS.


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