Université de Montpellier (UdM) is a research-intensive university where education and research cover most of the Scientific and Technological fields. Studies at the university include: Fundamental and Applied Sciences, Human and Social Sciences (law, economy) and Health Studies. Research is structured within 72 laboratories in partnership with well-recognized research organizations such as CNRS, INSERM, IRD, INRA or CIRAD. At the international level, UM is one of the most attractive universities in France in terms of student exchange (it represents more than 7500 incoming students for the last years), research collaboration (for example, the number of PhD in co-supervision with international universities is around 120 for the two merged institutions), as well as international projects (Research and Education). The dynamism and the influence of its laboratories, coupled with a professionalizing policy, make the university contribute strongly to the socioeconomic development of the region, through the employability of its students.
IRMB gathers scientific and medical expertise on regenerative medicine and innovative immunotherapies with the objectives to increase knowledge of stem cell biology, interactions between stem cells and immune cells, stem cell niches and homing, as well as the role of epigenetics mechanisms in chronic and age related diseases. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the transfer of stem cell biology research to clinical applications in consultation with clinical specialists in chronic diseases (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders) with the support of national infrastructures (INGESTEM and ECELLFRANCE). ECELLFRANCE is dedicated to production of clinical grade mesenchymal stem cells, patient immuno-monitoring, preclinical and bio distribution studies, writing of regulatory dossiers. Dr Noël is the head of the group “Mesenchymal stem cell biology and cartilage therapy”, which comprises researchers/University Hospital researchers, engineers as well as post-doctoral fellows and doctoral students. The main objectives of the group are to identify the molecular mechanisms regulating the process of regeneration of articular cartilage and develop MSC-based cell therapy approaches.
The UdM team will address within the iPSpine project biodistribution and safety of iPS cells, one of the crucial safety aspects of iPS-based therapies towards clinical translation.
Professor Christian Jorgensen is head of the research unit UMR INSERM-1183 (“Cellules Souches, Plasticité Cellulaire, Médecine Régénératrice & Immunothérapies””) IRMB (Montpellier – France). He leads the Institute for regenerative institute & biotherapies (IRMB) and is in charge of Biotherapy department at university hospital Montpellier. Since the beginning of the unit in 2015, he animates this team composed by 150 permanent senior researchers and engineers dedicated to therapeutic innovation in the field of arthritis and cartilage regeneration. His clinical interest is in stem cell base therapies, clinical immunology and rheumatology. He is PI of phase 1-2 trials dedicated to osteoarthritis therapy. He is the coordinator of ECELLFRANCE, a national platform dedicated to stem cell based therapy supported by “Investissement d’avenir”. Christian Jorgensen is member of wide reaching rheumatology organizations, such as EULAR, the French Society of Rheumatology, the American Society for Rheumatology. He heads the EULAR gene and cell therapy study group, and coordinates the French GDR, dedicated to biomaterial applied to stem cells.
Prof Daniele Noel is currently research director in the Inserm Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Biotherapies in Montpellier. She received her Ph.D. in Health Biology from the Bordeaux University and did a post-doc in the Institute of Molecular Genetics in Montpellier in the field of recombinant retrovirology and gene therapy. She then joined the team led by Pr. C. Jorgensen in Montpellier to work in cell therapy. She became professor in 2011 and is presently leading the group “Mesenchymal stem cell biology and cartilage therapy” at IRMB in Montpellier. She is member of the scientific council and scientific leader of the platform on preclinical and safety models of the national infrastructure ECELLFRANCE. Her main interests focus on the biology of mesenchymal stem cells with emphasis on secretome activity including extracellular vesicles and on regenerative medicine for osteoarticular and autoimmune diseases using scaffold- and/or cell-based therapies for the repair of articular cartilage.
Karine Toupet: Thanks to a degree in chemical engineering obtained in 2005 and a neuroscience doctorate obtained in 2009, I was recruited in 2013 as a research engineer on the ECELLFRANCE platform in Montpellier. On this platform, I am in charge of preclinical studies based on the use of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of osteoarticular and autoimmune diseases. On the request of academic teams and industrial customers, I am responsible for:
- The establishment and implementation of biodistribution and toxicology studies of mesenchymal stem cells in vivo
- The evaluation of preclinical protocols for cell therapies by clinical scoring (measurement of clinical signs), functional evaluation (measurement of pain or locomotion capacity mice), tissue imaging and quantification (imaging of articular cartilage by confocal microscopy and bone by X-ray microtomography), cellular analysis (histological analysis and evaluation by histological score) and biological parameters assessment.
Finally, since 2018, I have taken in charge the quality procedure of the platform to obtain ISO9001 certification.