A scientific research alliance between Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and the Institut National pour la Santé et la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) of France, was celebrated today by the signing of a letter of intent that establishes an International Associated Laboratory (IAL), the first international partnership of this kind between Winship and Inserm.
The IAL brings together the resources of Winship, Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute designated cancer center, with those of Inserm, the pre-eminent biomedical and public health research institution of France.
The letter of intent was signed by David S. Stephens, MD, Vice President for Research in Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and Professor Jean-Marc Egly, Research Director at Inserm. Representatives from the French Embassy in Washington, DC, and from the Consulate Général de France à Atlanta attended the event.
"We are very pleased to see Inserm and Emory move forward on this important project of collaboration," said Denis Barbet, Consul Général de France à Atlanta. "The signing of this letter of intent is quite symbolic of the French-American relationship in the U.S. Southeast. I wish Inserm and Emory the best success."
The France-Atlanta alliance springs from a professional relationship started two years ago between Winship's Jacques Galipeau, MD, a world-renowned expert in regenerative medicine, and Luc Sensébé, MD, PhD, director of Inserm’s StromaLab center in Toulouse, France. During a 2011 workshop here in Atlanta, Dr. Galipeau presented his studies on mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) and their clinical application in treatments for autoimmune disease, cancer and other illnesses. Dr. Sensébé also has dedicated his research work to studying MSCs biology and clinical applications for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and regenerative medicine.
"This international scientific collaboration will allow us to share best practices and technologies while still developing our own intellectual properties," says Galipeau. "And it will enable us to recruit patients in both countries."
Today's ceremony capped a day-long joint workshop at Winship, organized by Galipeau, on Translational Research in Cancer. Going forward, Galipeau and Sensébé will coordinate research efforts in their respective labs through the newly formed International Associated Laboratory (IAL), entitled "Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells and macrophages cross-talk: towards clinical applications." The IAL will provide opportunities for students from the two labs to work and learn in each other’s centers.
"By working together, we combine the strengths of both centers and hope to accelerate this promising research in developing clinical therapies," said Galipeau.