Fabrice Andre, MD, PhD
Research Director, Head of INSERM Unit U981
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
INSERM (Institut National des Sciences et de la Recherche Médicale)
Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology
Institut Gustave Roussy
New biotechnologies for DNA sequencing have shown that each breast cancer has its own specific molecular profile (mutations, protein expression, DNA copy number). This means that the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the development of cancer are different for each patient. Previous studies on anti-cancer agents have shown that targeting the molecular mechanisms that have generated cancer will lead to clinical benefit for the patients. Based on this information, Dr. André's team has hypothesized that identifying the molecular mechanisms of cancer for each patient could help defining which targeted therapy should be given.
In 2011-2012, Dr. André and colleagues launched a prospective clinical trial (SAFIR01) that aims to recruit 400 patients across 20 centers in France. In this trial, they are biopsying women with metastatic breast cancer and then molecularly analyzing these samples using new biotechnologies to help determine the type of targeted therapy that the patient will be prescribed.
Since the start of the project, 350 patients have already enrolled and tissue samples have been collected from the volunteers. First results of this trial are planned to be presented during European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) conference in fall 2012. In parallel, Dr. André and colleagues have eveloped three additional tools to enable tailoring therapies for individual patients. Their next steps are to analyze the molecular characteristics of the collected tissue samples. They will also begin the development of a randomized trial evaluating how next generation sequencing can further benefit patient care.
Mid-year Progress: The goal of Dr. André's 2012-2013 project is to perform molecular characterization of tumors from 400 patients with metastatic breast cancer. The originality of the project is linked to the fact that it is unusual to have access to metastatic tissues, and researchers therefore do not know which molecular alterations will be found in these samples. During the last months, Dr. André's team has centralized 400 metastatic tissues from a single clinical trial (SAFIR01) in two biobanks. One biobank has the charge of preparing the samples for large scale sequencing analyses, and the other will be preparing the tissues for protein analysis. After having prepared these materials, Dr. André's team will be able to generate data on sequencing and protein expression. New data about genomic characteristics of metastatic disease should therefore be available in June and could help lead to new treatment approaches.
Fabrice Andre, MD, PhD is a medical oncologist who is currently director of INSERM Unit U981, a laboratory dedicated to the development of personalized medicine. He is also associate professor in the department of medical oncology, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France. His main research topic is translational oncology and development of targeted agents in breast cancer.
He received his medical degree in 2002 and his PhD in 2005(biotechnologies). He spent one year as visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is a past recipient of Young Investigator and Career Development awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He has published more than 100 peer reviewed papers, including papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Nature Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Lancet Oncology, either as main or co-author.
He is currently chairing a large team focused on the development of personalized medicine. His lab includes 40 employees working on basic sciences, bioinformatics, biotechnologies and clinical research, and he also is leading two large clinical programs. SAFIR01 is a prospective trial to be conducted between 2011 and 2014, that is evaluating the use of high throughput technologies for the selection of patients to targeted agents. This project will include 400 patients with metastatic breast cancer. CANTO is a prospective cohort that will include 20,000 women who presented with early stage breast cancer and aims to identify predictive parameters for toxicity.