Jean-Philippe Girard receives the Grand Prix Oberling-Haguenau from the ARC Foundation

Tumor-associated HEVs (TA-HEVs) function as portals of entry for lymphocytes into tumors during cancer immunotherapy. Multiphoton imaging of lymphocytes (in green) migrating through TA-HEVs (in red) during combination anti-PD-1 plus anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy. The white arrow indicates a lymphocyte that is leaving the bloodstream and entering the tumor (in black). © E. Bellard and J.-P. Girard.

Jean-Philippe Girard is Director of Research at Inserm and head of the “Vascular Biology: Endothelial Cells in Immunity, Inflammation and Cancer” team at the IPBS. He has gained international recognition in the field of blood vessel cell biology.

With his team, he is studying the role of these vessels in chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer, a subject on which he began working at Harvard Medical School in Boston in the 1990s. In particular, he has discovered the presence in tumours of very special blood vessels, known as “HEVs” for high endothelial venules, which facilitate access to cancer cells by certain white blood cells, the killer lymphocytes, and thus lead to effective destruction of the tumours (see Figure).

Jean-Philippe Girard was the first to understand the major role played by these small vessels, which are the main entry point for lymphocytes into tumours, in the response to “immune checkpoint inhibitor” immunotherapies. He has provided proof of concept that increasing the frequency and maturation of these vessels in tumours improves the efficacy of these treatments.

In memory of Professor Charles Oberling and Doctor Françoise Haguenau, the Oberling-Haguenau Foundation, under the aegis of the ARC Foundation, was created at the end of 2019 with the aim of actively promoting cancer research by rewarding each year a researcher and their team who have made major advances in the understanding or treatment of cancer.

This Grand Prix rewards the leader of a “Programme labellisé Fondation ARC” that has led to remarkable scientific production and significant advances. It is worth a total of €150,000.

Jean-Philippe Girard receives the Grand Prix Oberling-Haguenau from the ARC Foundation