Siric > Platforms > Technology platforms

Preclinical models in colorectal cancer – MPCC Platform

 Location IRCM

Name of the Coordinator: Dr. Céline Gongora

Description (expertise, activity and resources)

The MPCC platform, created by the SIRIC, proposes different graft models available as part of research contracts or collaborations:

– A model with hepatic metastasis by injection of cells into the spleen, followed by a splenectomy to prevent primary tumour growth.

– An orthotopic model with injection of cells directly into the caecum. This graft will result in primary tumour growth in the caecum and the associated metastases can grow at different distant sites.

– An intra-pancreatic model with injection of cells directly into the pancreas.

This platform also proposes intraperitoneal and intravenous grafts.

Various cell models already tested for their ability to form primary tumours or metastasis are available. Several of these human and murine cell lines stably express a luciferase reporter gene, allowing the in vivo monitoring of the tumour growth by a noninvasive bioluminescence imaging system. Detection of as few as several dozens of cells can be achieved.

Typical examples of utilization of the MPCC platform include testing effects of a new therapeutic drug, antibodies or genes on tumour growth and invasiveness.

The MPCC platform works in close collaboration with RAM (Réseau des Animaleries de Montpellier), IPAM (Imagerie du Petit Animal de Montpellier), RHEM (Réseau d’Histologie Expérimentale de Montpellier) and MRI (Montpellier Rio Imaging).


Antibody engineering – GenAc Platform

Location IRCM

Name of the Coordinator Dr Pierre Martineau & Dr. Bruno Robert

Description (expertise, activity and resources)

The GenAc platform proposes to select and produce specific antibodies against therapeutic targets using phage display. This activity is based on synthetic human antibody libraries build at the IRCM. This development of monoclonal antibodies is proposed in priority to the Montpellier SIRIC community, but is also opened to external groups in France if resources are available.

The proposed approach allows notably to select cross-reacting antibodies (mouse-human target for example) to evaluate toxicity and activity in any pre-clinical model (xenografted, syngeneic, spontaneous, chemically induced or transgenic mouse model). Moreover this platform does not use animals for producing antibodies, alleviating ethical limitations, immune restriction, and in vivo toxicity of the antigen. Finally, because of the in vitro approach used, this allows a much faster development time.

Up to now, we have finalized more than 10 projects and one antibody has already been patented.

Thanks to the support of SIRIC, one engineer is working full-time on the platform, performing routine selection and production of antibody. This engineer is supervised by two specialized scientists from the IRCM. A scientific committee comprising one scientist of each institute participating to the SIRIC selects projects and follows the progression of each project twice a year.



Experimental Radiotherapy Platform

 Location: IRCM

Name of the Coordinator: Dr. Muriel Brengues

Description (expertise, activity and resources)

photo irradiateurThanks to the support of SIRIC, an experimental radiotherapy core facility was created in 2015 at the IRCM following the acquisition of a pre-clinical irradiator (x-strahl, Sys SARRP Lite (Xenx) Serial). This instrument is dedicated to the irradiation of cells, whole body mice and subcutaneous grafted tumours in mice by using collimators ranging from 0.5 mm in diameter to 10 mm x 10 mm. The Xenx has a rotating X-ray tube that can deliver doses from multiple angles, as well as a camera that can perform an X-ray to allow the user to target the tumour correctly.

Three engineers have been trained to use the irradiator and dedicate part of their time to realize the irradiations for several teams at the IRCM and in the Montpellier community (IGMM, IGH, Pharmacological School, ISEM). One physicist from the ICM performs the calibration and checking of the dose distribution of the irradiation.

A steering committee composed of a physicist, a scientist, an engineer, a competent person in Radioactivity (PCR) and the coordinator of the SIRIC was created to ensure the proper functioning of the platform.


The Laboratory of Rare Circulating Human Cells (LCCRH)

Location Montpellier University Hospital

Name of the Coordinator Catherine Alix-Panabières

Description (expertise, activity and resources)

The LCCRH is a unique platform in Europe specialized in enrichment, detection and characterization of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in solid cancers. The LCCRH has an international recognition in this field based on its 17-years expertise: on this platform, we can detect and enumerate CTCs from blood samples using high-tech:  CellSearch system (Menarini), the only technology that has been cleared FDA-USA and that can enumerate CTCs in a few hours, defining CTCs as « EpCAM(+) Dapi(+) CK8,18,19(+) CD45(-) cells » in a robust and reproducible way ; the EPISPOT assay (patent of the CHU of Montpellier), that allows the detection of viable CTCs based on a short-term cell culture in vitro. The LCCRH has also an expertise on the (i) PARSORTIX system (Angle) for enriching CTCs based on their size and deformability, (ii) CellCollector (GILUPI) for capturing CTCs directly in vivo in the vein of the patient. This expertise gave a considerable advance to the LCCRH face to the concurrent development of using CTCs in diagnostic and monitoring of cancer. The laboratory is currently involved in different national and international projects. The team has recently acquired the DEPArray™ System which enables isolation of individual, intact cells and researchers to study the biological significance of rare cells in disease development, progression and therapeutic response. The DEPArray™ System is unique in combining imaging technologies with the ability to manipulate and recover individual, viable rare cells from a heterogeneous sample. The SIRIC decided to support the development of this technology and has provided to that end a funding grant to cover the salary of the engineer dedicated to this platform since mid-2016.


BioCampus Montpellier

BioCampus Montpellier manages the core facilities for Life Sciences research at the RABELAIS BioMedical Department of the University of Montpellier. Back to 1998, the biomedical research institutes in Montpellier progressively shared their technology facilities and created BioCampus central facility in 2011. This unique facility allows ready access to a wide range of technologies and expertise in an integrated manner that helps drive forward research efficiently and cost effectively. The facilities are not only available to researchers within the University of Montpellier but also to academic and industrial researchers from outside the University. They are also open to researchers across the scientific communities, including biotechnologies, pharma, agroscience, environmental science, and evolution.

The unit is intended to put material and human resources at the disposal of the researchers and to carry out actions to support research.

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