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Françoise DIGNAT-GEORGE

Françoise DIGNAT-GEORGE

PharmD, PhD

Head of the Haematology Service of the Conception Hospital | Director of the Vascular Research Centre of Marseille | Professor of Immunology and Haematology at Aix-Marseille University | Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Marseille

AMU, AP-HM, VRCM

Advances in science and technology have gradually abolished the frontier between fundamental research and the clinic. Like most founders of Marseille Immunopole, my every day life consists in constant back and forth between the laboratory and the patient's bedside and I work at the interface of several disciplines, technologies and application fields: immunology and haematology, cell therapy and monoclonal antibodies, diagnosis and therapy. We work also, of course, with industry that now constitutes a key player to accelerate the transfer of these innovations to the clinic.

My common theme remains the vessel. In VRCM, vessels can be destroyed to  starve tumours or conversely rebuilt to restore blood flow in ischemic stroke, lower extremity arterial diseases, etc. With the haematology service of the Conception Hospital, we have also developed innovative vascular biomarkers by measuring the concentration and origin of blood microparticles released by damaged cells, so clinicians can now improve the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with cardiovascular diseases, cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

With the cell therapy unit of Florence Sabatier, our team is also involved in regenerative medicine. We base this on an unexplored source of stem cells that lies at the core of adipose tissue: the stromal vascular fraction. The early clinical data we have obtained from scleroderma, a rare and debilitating autoimmune disease, seem already to confirm the potential of this new approach.Education is also one of the strategic components of the Marseille Immunopole project. As Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, my goal is also to prepare the next generation: to fuel research and industry with new talent, but also to familiarise future pharmacists with new drugs arising from these innovations.

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