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Our scientific orientations : cancer escape and immune surveillance

The Synergie Lyon Cancer Foundation has decided to concentrate on a promising research theme that responds to the objective of the research continuum it has set itself. It is based on cancer escape, a subject for which the research teams of Lyon are recognised for their expertise, in view to linking it to the development of targeted therapies.

The teams of the Synergie Lyon Cancer Foundation focus their research efforts on cancer escape: Apoptosis and senescence, Immune surveillance

Their objective is to understand the mechanisms that lead a cancerous cell to escape the defences of our system, whether they are physiological or immune.

Cancer escape: understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying cancers

When a cell divides abnormally and becomes malignant, “protection” mechanisms are triggered automatically, ordering it:

  • to either cease replicating itself and age prematurely (senescence),
  • or  die (apoptosis),

Thus the organism prevents cell abnormalities from getting out of control and harming it. However, some cancerous cells succeed in bypassing this protection system.

  • They remain “deaf” to the signals sent to them,
  • survive the attempts made to eliminate them,
  • and succeed in growing and spreading in an otherwise hostile organism. 

Elucidating the causes of malfunctions in our cellular defences will allow better determination of the mechanisms underlying the occurrence and progression of cancer. It will then be possible to seek means to restore the functioning of this protection system and to target the defective cells.

Immune surveillance will also progress in this direction as the aim is to understand why, in certain cancers, the body fails to “defend itself”. The Foundation’s teams seek to identify the disturbances and restore the anti-cancer responses of the human body.

This direction of research, unknown 15 years ago, has been made possible thanks to progress in understanding the biology of cancer cells. Major advances have been made recently by the Cancer Research Centre of Lyon (CRCL): in particular, the abnormal reactivation of mechanisms normally limited to the embryonic stage allows cancer cells to increase their adaptability and mobility.

Get more information :
Reactivation of embryonic processes : Interview of Alain Puisieux