In recent years, anticancer therapeutic strategies (e.g. chemotherapy) have mainly targeted tumor cells. Despite certain efficacy, relapse after treatment is common. Furthermore, tumor progression is a multigenic and multi-phase process highly dependent on the diverse influence exerted by the tumor microenvironment. The frequency of relapse after conventional treatment, and the discovery of cancer stem cells, initially in acute leukemia then in a large number of different tumor types, led the medical and scientific community to consider exclusive targeting of tumor cells per se as insufficient. New approaches, specifically targeting the diverse cell populations making up the tumor microenvironment, are in development phases.
The objectives of this network are to isolate the components of tumor niches in order to characterize and analyse the interactions between the tumor microenvironment and cancer stem cells. This research may provide new therapeutic strategies to limit the cancer development and to prevent relapse.
Teams of "Microenvironment and tumor niches" network are involved in the study of the microenvironment of hematological cancers (myeoldysplasia, leukemia, myeloma, lymphoma) and solid tumors (glioma, sarcoma, melanoma, Breast, hepatocarinoma). These teams are internationally recognized and gather different expertise and skills in the field.
In addition, network research is supported by two University Hospital Federations (FHU) created in 2014:
- GOAL (Grand Ouest Acute Leukemia) at the six University Hospitals in the CGO territory (Angers, Brest, Nantes, Poitiers, Rennes, Tours)
- and CAMIn (Cancer Microenvironment Regeneration) at the Rennes University Hospital.
Teams of network also belong to the national GDR CNRS3697 MicroNiT (Microenvironment of Tumor Niches, 18 INSERM/CNRS/CHU/CEA teams; www.micronit.fr) which is coordinated by O. Herault (CNRS U7292 – TOURS).