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The PSCC presents its Strategic Advisory Board

The PSCC presents its Strategic Advisory Board composed of international experts in oncology, technology and innovation strategies

The Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster (PSCC), first winner of the France 2030 "Biocluster" call for expressions of interest launched by Emmanuel Macron, aims to create a world-class cancer cluster.

The PSCC announces today the appointment of nine eminent international experts to its Strategic Advisory Board (SAB), chosen for their scientific excellence, their experience in public-private research, in biotechnology entrepreneurship and in biocluster management. By design, the composition of this board is entirely international. The SAB is chaired by Prof. Solange Peters, a leading oncologist practicing in Lausanne and current President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO).

The role of the SAB will be to provide advice to the PSCC team on the development and deployment strategy of the biocluster, as well as on scientific, medical, translational, and technological aspects.

Pr. Solange Peters, President of the SAB on PSCC, comments: "The PSCC is a unique initiative in France but also in Europe. We are delighted, with the other members of the SAB, to be able to participate actively in its construction and, we hope, in its success! Our team is resolutely multidisciplinary and I am very enthusiastic about the idea of this unprecedented collective emulation in the service of the PSCC's ambition."

"We are proud to be joined by a team of independent, world-renowned experts in oncology, onco-immunology, bioinformatics, genomics... but also in business strategy in the field of healthcare and biotech. These experts come from the best academic and clinical centers in Europe and North America and from clusters that are clearly our models," adds Prof. Eric Vivier, President of the PSCC Association. "The remarkable and highly complementary expertise of the SAB members will provide the vision to support the development of the PSCC, through the combination of fundamentally multidisciplinary approaches."

About the SAB members:

Fátima Al-Shahrour, PhD, is head of the Bioinformatics Unit at Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO).

She has an extensive experience in the study of cancer under a genomic perspective. Her research focuses on applying and developing computational methods to precision medicine, for the interpretation of cancer genomes, drug repositioning and prediction of anticancer therapies. Her group is an active node of the Bioinformatics European network ELIXIR, leading the ELIXIR Cancer Data Focus Group to provide the framework and expertise for the systematic analysis and interpretation of cancer genomes. The group is also part of the Spanish Mirror Group of the B1MG project. These activities are aligned with other ELIXIR-ES core nodes focused on the integration of translational platforms in the Spanish Health System. In this sense, she co-coordinates the project IMPaCT-Data, the Data Science Program for the development of Precision Medicine Infrastructure, leading training activities, but also, its activity is focused on Genomics Data management.

She has served on the advisory boards of several institutions such as Institut Curie, CNAG and as regular reviewer panel member for several national and international calls for research projects. She is also co-director of Master in Bioinformatics Applied to Personalized Medicine and Health (ISCIII-ENS).

As result of her scientific career, she has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in cancer genomics and bioinformatics focused on translational cancer research.

Thomas F. Gajewski, MD, PhD, heads the Melanoma Oncology Clinic and leads the Immunology and Cancer Program of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research focuses on understanding fundamental aspects of anti-tumor immunity ad translation to the clinic. He is a professor in the Ben May Department for Cancer Research, the Department of Pathology, and the Department of Medicine—Hematology/Oncology at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Gajewski, who received the first American Cancer Society-Jules L. Plangere Jr. Family Foundation Professor in Cancer Immunotherapy Award as well as the 2017 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Tumor Immunology, is known for his work on the regulation of anti-tumor immune responses and he remains committed to translating those laboratory efforts into clinical strategies that can improve clinical outcomes in patients.

In addition to being a member of CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council, Dr. Gajewski serves on the Grant Review Committees for the CRI and MRA, as well as multiple biotech companies.

Dr. Gajewski has published more than 220 manuscripts and 20 book chapters in these areas. Has presented data at more than 400 scientific conferences.

Thomas Helleday, PhD, is Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Biology at Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

Professor Helleday has a previous background in management of cancer centres, such as being Director of the Sheffield Cancer Centre at the University of Sheffield and within the executive committee of the MRC/CRUK Gray Cancer Institute at University of Oxford. Professor Helleday has been awarded numerous eminent international grants and awards in recognition of his research accomplishments including the Eppendorf-Nature Young European Investigator Award (2005) for outstanding contribution within the field of biomedical science by the journal Nature and the prestigious ERC advanced grants (2010 and 2015). He has currently been awarded a total of EUR 18.7 million in research grants. Professor Helleday has authored 250 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Harvey F. Lodish, PhD, is a molecular and cell biologist, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and lead author of the textbook Molecular Cell Biology. Lodish's research focused on cell surface proteins and other important areas at the interface between molecular cell biology and medicine.

Dr. Lodish was a founder and scientific advisory board member of 12 biotech companies, including Genzyme, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and Rubius Therapeutics.

Dr. Lodish has served on advisory panels for the U.S. National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation and the American Cancer Society. He was Chair of the advisory board of the Division of Basic Sciences of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and of the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic. He has served on the advisory boards of several other institutions, including the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, the Center for Molecular Biology Heidelberg (ZMBH) in Germany, the Life Sciences Institute of the University of Michigan, and the PEW Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences. He has served on the Visiting Committees of the California Institute of Technology Division of Biology and of the Engineering Division of the University of California Santa Barbara. He is currently on the Advisory Boards of the Chinese Organization for Rare Disorders and the Lausanne RE(ACT) Discovery Institute for rare diseases.

Dr. Lodish is a member of the Board of Trustees of Boston Children’s Hospital, where he also was Chair of the Research Committee of the Board of Trustees. From 2007 to 2014 he was Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the group charged with oversight of the state’s 10 year, $1 billion investment in the life sciences.

Dr. Lodish is the lead author of the textbook Molecular Cell Biology. The ninth edition was published in 2021 and the book has been translated into fourteen languages.

Solange Peters, MD, PhD, is currently in charge of teaching and patient care in medical oncology and thoracic malignancies at the Department of Oncology of Lausanne University, where she is building a translational programme in collaboration with the molecular oncology laboratories of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the Ludwig Institute.

Prof. Peters’ main field of interest is new biomarker discovery and validation in preclinical and clinical settings. She is also strongly involved and interested in multimodality trial including clinical and translational cancer immunotherapy. Her current research projects as a chair are focused innovative immunotherapy for the treatment of NSCLC, SCLC, thymic malignancies and mesothelioma, as well as targeted therapies in oncogene-addicted NSCLC. She acts as the local principal investigator of lung trials opened in Lausanne Cancer Centre, focused on phase I, predictive biomarkers and NSCLC immunotherapy. In addition, she is a co- principal investigator of several other trials.

She is active in academic trials building and organization, as well as related databases for the ETOP (European Thoracic Oncology Platform), where she is responsible for scientific coordination and member of the Foundation Council.

Prof. Solange Peters is an active member of the educational programme within the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). Prof. Peters is currently President (2020 – 2022) of ESMO and a member of the ESMO Faculty for Lung and Other Thoracic Cancers. She was previously Chair of the ESMO Women for Oncology Committee, a committee she initiated, and is a member of the ESMO Council. She was the scientific chair of ELCC 2016 and Scientific Chair of the ESMO 2018 annual congress in Munich.

She is in parallel active in IASLC and served as a Board Member. She is a member of AACR (American Association for Cancer Research) and EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer).

Prof. Peters has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. She served as an Associate Editor of ‘Lung Cancer’ and will become its Deputy Editor in 2023, and she was the Deputy Editor of the ‘Journal of Thoracic Oncology’ (JTO), the official journal of IASLC, until 2020. She was Editor in Chief of Cancer Treatment Communications. In addition, she acts as Associate Editor for Annals of Oncology, for ‘Frontiers in Pharmacology of Anti-Cancer Drugs’ and Review Editor for ‘Frontiers in Thoracic Oncology’.

Ton Schumacher, PhD, is Senior member of The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Oncode Institute, and Professor of Immunotechnology at Leiden University, his research has helped decipher how our T cell-based immune system can recognize cancer cells.

Next to his position at The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Schumacher is involved in the development of novel immunotherapeutics in biotech and in venture capital, focusing on the formation of novel companies in the immunology and immuno-oncology space. He was founder of, amongst others, AIMM Therapeutics, T cell factory (acquired by Kite Pharma), and Neogene Therapeutics, and has served as CSO of Kite Pharma EU.

For his work on T-cell recognition in human cancer he received, amongst others, The Amsterdam Inventor Award, Queen Wilhelmina Cancer Research Award, Meyenburg Cancer Research Award, the William B. Coley Award, and the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine. Dr. Schumacher was elected to the American Association of Cancer Research Academy in 2021.

Suzanne L. Topalian, MD, is a physician-scientist whose studies of anti-tumor immunity have been foundational in developing cancer immunotherapy. She has published over 160 original research articles and reviews in this area and is one of the most highly cited researchers in the biomedical field. She received her medical and scientific training at Tufts University School of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the U. S. National Cancer Institute. She joined the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in 2006 as the inaugural director of its Melanoma/Skin Cancer Program, and currently serves as associate director for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Dr. Topalian is credited with advancing the clinical development of anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, and her work is widely recognized. She was named one of Nature’s 10 in 2014, and received the Karnofsky Award from ASCO in 2015, the Taubman Prize in 2016, the NCI’s Rosalind E. Franklin Award in 2018, the American Academy of Dermatology’s Gruber Memorial Cancer Research Award in 2020, and the Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences from the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2021 for landmark discoveries in cancer immunotherapy.

Dr. Topalian was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2017, and to the American Association for Cancer Research Academy and the Society for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer Academy of Immuno-Oncology in 2022. Her work has opened new avenues of scientific investigation and established immunotherapy as a pillar of oncology.

Susan Windham-Bannister, PhD, is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in innovation, market access and market optimization strategies. Dr. Windham-Bannister currently serves as Managing Partner of Biomedical Innovation Advisors LLC, which she founded with Dr. Harvey Lodish, co-founder of Genzyme, and member of the Whitehead Institute, MIT. She also serves as the President and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC. These advisory firms leverage Dr. Windham-Bannister’s experience as a business strategist and the immediate past President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC).Dr Windham-Bannister was the first President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tasked with implementing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Act, a fifteen-year, 1.5 billion USD initiative signed into law in June 2008. On assuming this position in July 2008, she was responsible for the overall implementation of the initiative, including staffing, developing policies and procedures, creating a brand, and formulating the investment strategy. The Center's portfolio of investments is promoting economic development, catalysing innovation, strengthening Massachusetts' global leadership position in the life sciences, and accelerating the commercialisation of promising treatments, therapies and cures. Since the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative was passed in 2008, biopharma employment in Massachusetts has grown by 55%, representing $16B USD in wages and Massachusetts leads the U.S, in attracting venture capital funding for start-up companies.

Dr Windham-Bannister holds a BA from Wellesley College and a PhD in health policy and management from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School. She completed her doctoral work under a fellowship from the Ford Foundation.

Christina K. Yung, PhD, is Vice President, Data Science at Indoc Research, a not-for-profit company dedicated to the design, build, and operations of health data infrastructure for hospitals and research organizations across the globe. Dr. Yung has an interdisciplinary background in bioinformatics, computational biology, and cancer genomics. She has extensive experience in leading cross-functional teams and cultivating strategic partnerships to develop large-scale medical research data platforms for responsible data sharing and collaborative scientific discoveries.

Previously, Dr. Yung was the Director of Genome Informatics and Principal Research Scientist at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) where she led the Data Coordination Centre of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and co-led the National Cancer Institute’s Genomic Data Commons (GDC). Both ICGC and GDC provide invaluable data resources to researchers across the globe in our fight against cancer.

Dr. Yung was a key contributor in the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) Consortium, an international collaboration to identify common patterns of mutation in whole cancer genomes from the ICGC and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). She co-led the PCAWG technical working group that performed primary data analysis on over 2,600 genomes across 14 computing clouds. The initiative involving over 1,300 scientists and clinicians from 37 countries resulted in 23 papers in Nature and its affiliated journals.

Dr. Yung has been awarded the Top 25 Healthcare Technology Leaders of Toronto for 2022. She received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University, and her PhD and Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.


About the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster (PSCC):

Launched in February 2022 by Gustave-Roussy, Sanofi, Inserm, the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and the University of Paris-Saclay, the Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster (PSCC) is the first laureate of the "Biocluster" call for expressions of interest launched by Emmanuel Macron as part of the France 2030 plan. Joined by UNICANCER, the Curie Institute, AP-HP and Medicen, it has received the support of more than 80 start-ups, biotech and large pharmaceutical groups.

The PSCC's mission is to orchestrate strong interactions between researchers, patients, healthcare professionals, start-ups, SMEs, Big Pharma and investors within a dynamic, integrated and virtuous ecosystem, anchored in Villejuif. Its objective is to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments, medical devices and diagnostics in France. The PSCC will support industrial projects at various levels of maturity and facilitate the connection of these projects with the experts, platforms and resources they need.

With an international scope, the PSCC aims to position France among the world leaders in the transformation of science into value for patients and society as a whole.

Media Contacts

Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster

Céline Voisin

Phone : +33 662 12 53 39


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