The Consortium

FHU ONCOAGE gathers a unique combination of high-level skills from several fields of interest (clinicians, bio pathologists, immunologists, researchers, bioinformatician, mathematicians, economists and social sciences specialists, etc.). It aims to improve and optimize the quality of care, in particular thanks to innovative research and education programmes. The consortium includes particularly:

  • Physicians specialized in lung diseases (both degenerative and neoplastic diseases), head and neck diseases (including thyroid pathology), and neurodegenerative and muscular disorders;
  • Researchers specialized in ageing and neoplastic processes, in immunology and metabolism, and in modelling, learning and image computing.

FHU ONCOAGE’s partners and resources are targeting a same objective, focused on the understanding of mechanisms linking ageing process (so called the « Gerosciences »), and the carcinogenesis phenomena’s. This initiative will as well involve different partners from the private sectors, such as new technologies, diagnostics and pharma industries.

In order to reach its goals, FHU ONCOAGE has targeted three (3) main human pathology domains:

  • Pulmonary/respiratory diseases (COPD, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis, lung & pleura cancers)
  • Head & Neck diseases (including thyroid pathologies)
  • Neurodegenerative and Muscular diseases (Alzheimer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, mitochondriopathies).

The three (3) main pathologies in FHU ONCOAGE work programme have been selected based on the clinical excellence and expertise developed by the teams of the Nice university hospital, from both point of view, care services and clinical research: departments of pneumology, thoracic surgery, biopathology, genetics and functional rehabilitation (ranked A+ and A within the 2013 evaluation by the CRBSP Nice university hospital unit). Moreover, the creation of the Head & Neck Institute, gathering in a same 5 floors building all the relevant teams from the university hospital and from the CLCC CAL, has allowed to increase the volume of patients treated for ENT or thyroid pathologies.

Around the clinicians’ teams, several experts centres have been granted by the French Ministry of Health (around mitochondrial disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis), showing here the national renown and the excellence of these departments.

The FHU ONCOAGE foundation research teams are all ranked A+ by the AERES since 2012 and are major stakeholders of the LABEX SIGNALIFE initiative. These teams will be involved directly in the three (3) working groups about the three (3) key diseases models (Pulmonary, Head & Neck, Neurodegenerative and Muscular pathology), and on a crosscutting approach, they will bring their expertise on general mechanisms such as immunology, metabolism, genome instability, mathematical modelling). More specifically on these aspects, the skills and expertise from the INRIA Sophia-Antipolis teams and from the mathematics lab of the University of Nice will be deployed and work in synergy with the biology teams of the hospital and of the research institutes involve in ONCOAGE.

Apart of Nice-based teams, and in order to maximise and develop active and efficient synergies on topics linked with ageing and cancer, FHU ONCOAGE has integrated as well several research and clinicians teams from the CLCC Léon Bérard in Lyon, the IARC (pulmonary, pleura and ENT pathologies) and geriatrics team from the Lyon university hospital. More specifically, the head of the national competence centre on mesothelioma diagnostics, recently set up within the CLCC Léon Bérard (so called the « mesopath » group), joined the ONCOAGE consortium. Moreover, the FHU ONCOAGE will strengthen the pulmonary and ENT cancer patients’ cohorts, thanks to the collaboration with the CLCC Léon Berard.

The FHU ONCOAGE will strengthen the relations between its members. This strong cooperation approach won’t emerge spontaneously, but is the fruit of existing collaboration between several teams within the consortium, such as:

  • Respiratory diseases: involving the Nice university hospital teams of pneumology, thoracic surgery, biopathology, paediatrics, the teams from the institute of molecular & cellular pharmacology, from the Nice Research institute on Cancer and Ageing (IRCAN), from the Lyon University, the mathematics research lab and CLCC, the team of pleuropulmonary biopathology;
  • Head & Neck pathologies: involving teams from the Nice University Institute of Head and Neck, from the Nice University Hospital team of Biopathology, the Pathology lab of the CLCC CAL, the research team from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, from the Institute of Biology Valrose, the CEA (Fontenay aux Roses), the Gustave Roussy Institute and the International Agency for Research on Cancer;
  • Neurodegenerative and muscular pathologies: involving teams from genetics, functional rehabilitation, Nice university hospital geriatrics, research teams from the Nice Research institute on Cancer and Ageing (IRCAN), from the Institute of molecular and cellular pharmacology, the INRIA and the geriatrics team from the Lyon University hospital (HCL).

In order to support innovative projects with the researchers, clinicians involved but as well with industry partners, the FHU ONCOAGE has designed and set up a toolkit within a multi-function platform (so called « ONCOAM » for ONCOAGE Multiplatform).

This unique platform is first a “biological platform”, integrating the biological resource centre from the Nice university hospital and the CLCC CAL, a certified and accredited Bio Bank, which has developed already numbers of industry partnerships and collaborative researches at the national, European and international levels, thanks to a tissue and biological collections focused on chest diseases, thyroid and ENT. More specifically, three (3) clinical and biological databases, unique in Europe, have been developed within this Bio Bank:

  • A database of 2100 patients with a pulmonary/pleura cancer
  • A database of 3300 patients with different tumoral and non tumoral thyroid pathology
  • A database of 980 patients with COPD and PID
    This Bio Bank works directly with other teams of the consortium ONCOAGE such as:
  • The experimental histopathology labs;
  • The research centres of IRCAN and IBV and from the Nice university hospital and the CLCC;
  • The genomic platforms from the IPMC, IRCAN and LPCE-CLCC CAL (INCa);
  • The cytometry and microscopy platform at IRCAN;

The ONCOAM platform and its tools will be open to all industry partners associated to FHU ONCOAGE and will allow the development and the validation of new and innovative diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers. One of the first initiatives (early 2016) will be the set up of a Liquid Biopsy Laboratory (LBL) inside the Nice university hospital. This lab will aim to discover and develop new blood Biomarkers but as well usable Biomarkers in the care processes such as detection of genomic alterations in free circulating DNA, plasma microRNAs signature, detection of circulating tumour cells by different direct and indirect methods.

Secondly, the ONCOAM platform integrates as well components in order to test and assess technological solutions and services for elderly care, silver economy, improvement of lifestyles and promotion of age-friendly environments. The “PAILLON 2020” living-lab, granted by the European network of living-labs “ENOLL”, takes place close to the CHU’s site Pasteur 2. This innovative equipment, managed by the Geriatrics team of the University Hospital of Nice and the city council, combines:

  • Experts on assessment methodologies and processes for elderly care, lifestyle improvement interventions and technological solutions
  • An area of tests welcoming patients and older citizens in order to experiment tools, devices, software, etc.
  • An apartment for solutions testing in “real life” environment
  • The access to a large Geriatric Cancer cohort of nearly 2000 patients involved.

The “PAILLON 2020” living lab is a real platform to test interventions and associated innovative solutions, and to collaborate with external stakeholders from the Ecosystem such as patients/citizens, primary care & homecare, policy-makers, insurances and industry partners.