The Elsevier-Institut Cochin Innovation Award winners Olivier Kosmider and Jérôme Avouac talk about their research

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Les trophées remis aux lauréats du prix Elsevier-Institut Cochin 2022

On February 15, Institut Cochin, Université de Paris and Elsevier awarded the Elsevier-Institut Cochin Innovation Prize to Olivier Kosmider and Jérôme Avouac

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Olivier Kosmider retroactively received the 2020 Innovation Prize for his participation in the development of a new diagnostic tool for the prediction of iron overload. In addition, the 2021 Innovation Prize was awarded to Jérôme Avouac for having developed an innovative approach in the treatment of a rare autoimmune disease, systematic scleroderma (SSc).

Since 2017 Institut Cochin and Elsevier have been collaborating to hand out the Elsevier-Institut Cochin Innovation Award to recognize innovative research projects with a high potential of application in patient treatments. Institut Cochin and Elsevier are working together towards the common goal of supporting innovation in French biomedical research.

Photo portrait de Jérôme Avouac

Prof. Jérôme Avouac is a rheumatologist at the Cochin Hospital, and clinician scientist and teacher at Université de Paris and Institut Cochin. As a member of the team “Pathogenesis and innovative therapies in chronic fibro-inflammatory diseases”, he particularly aims at promoting innovative therapeutic strategies in Systemic sclerosis (SSc), a complex auto-immune disease with uncontrolled inflammation and fibrosis in the skin and other organs. His team previously developed new mouse models of dermal, pulmonary and vascular fibrosis allowing a pertinent evaluation of new therapeutic approaches.

The awarded project aims at assessing the consequences of CD19 CAR-T cells-mediated B lymphocytes aplasia in mice on the progression of pulmonary fibrosis and hypertension: the Fra-2 transgenic mouse model will be used, in as much as it largely mimics SSc, with a similar sequential progression. Injection of CD19 CAR-T cells was previously demonstrated as a highly efficient treatment of B cell hemopathies, evoking a complete and persistent B cell aplasia.

This project may have a very important impact on the progression of SSc. It might constitute the first demonstration of the efficacy of CD19 CAR-T cells in a validated and robust SSc model; the expected ‘proof-of-concept’ would open new therapeutic avenues for an orphan disease, as well as other auto-immune diseases.

Prof. Olivier Kosmider is a hematologist at the Cochin Hospital, teacher at Université de Paris and member of the team “Normal and pathological hematopoiesis” of Institut Cochin. He is an expert in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a group of heterogeneous diseases affecting hematopoietic stem cells; no robust biomarker is available yet for monitoring responses to treatment. MDS with ring sideroblasts (MDS-RS; ring sideroblasts are erythroid precursors with abnormal perinuclear mitochondrial iron accumulation) is a subgroup of MDS with somatic mutations in the SF3B1 gene in 90% of patients, which is now considered as a molecular marker by the WHO classification of myeloid hemopathies.

By high-throughput analysis of MDS-RS samples, Olivier Kosmider and his team could identify a variant erythroferrone transcript (ERFE+12), the quantification of which is a prediction factor of iron overload in the blood. This original observation, as a consequence of mutated SF3B1 in bone marrow erythroid cells, can be used now for the development of a useful assay for monitoring responses to treatment.

Accordingly, the main objective of the awarded project is to propose a specific quantification of the variant ERFE protein (ERFEVPFQ) which will allow an appropriate therapeutic management of patients, in collaboration with Dr Leon Kautz (Toulouse). Following on-going validation, this test will be widely proposed to the medical community for monitoring SF3B1-mutated MDS-RS, in prospective clinical trials promoted by the "Groupe francophone des Myélodysplasies".

Vidéos des deux lauréats

Le Prof. Olivier Kosmider partage son point de vue sur sa recherche, son impact sur la société et ses objectifs pour le futur proche

Photos des lauréats Olivier Kosmider et Jérôme Avouac lors de la cérémonie de remise des prix, entourés de William Rubens (Elsevier), Iman Hajar (Institut Cochin), Catherine Chaussain (Faculté de santé, Université de Paris), Pierre-Olivier Couraud (Institut Cochin), Florence Niedergang (Institut Cochin) et Edouard Kaminski (Université de Paris)