We hope that you are not being too hard hit by the current crisis, and that you and your family and friends remain healthy.

Like many others, we have reorganized our production schedule to ensure continuity of service while keeping our team safe. Although things may take a little longer, our team is standing by to conduct your studies to the high-quality standards that underpin our reputation.

This period of uncertainty also offers an opportunity for us to reflect on our R&D strategy and be proactive with regards to client projects.

We find ourselves with more time to think ahead – and so do you.

As always, our experts are here to offer support with your preclinical expertise challenges.

Please do feel free to get in touch and contact us here.

Wishing you all the best in these difficult times! 

Created in 2017, the STROK@LLIANCE brand has quickly built a reputation for quality and success in the field of preclinical services in neurology.

It is a real pleasure for us to see our brand building value.

Having already secured trademark protection in Europe, ETAP-Lab is proud to announce that the Japanese patent office has now approved our application to register the STROK@LLIANCE trademark.

We decided to include an image of the official document because, in addition to its legal value, it is beautifully decorated with motifs featuring peacocks and bamboo!

For several years now, Prof. Denis Vivien’s team (Laboratoire PhIND, U1237, Caen), our STROK@LLIANCE partner, has been looking into in the potential of N-Acetylcysteine (NAC, Mucomyst®) for thrombolysis of resistant clots during the acute phase of ischemic stroke.

While this old molecule is well known as a bronchial fluidizer, it is not generally thought of as having anything to do with strokes. However, Prof. Vivien and his team have found that similarities exist between blood clots and nasal secretions. As the l’Express article reports, Prof. Vivien states that they “are all made up of large close-structural proteins that form a mesh, with white and red blood cells trapped on one side and nasal secretions on the other”. More specifically, the Van Willebrand factor that enables platelet aggregation has structural similarities with the mucins present in mucus.

Preclinical trials have shown that NAC has the ability to dissolve platelet clots in human blood samples in vitro, as well as reduce the cerebral injury induced by ischemic stroke in mouse models that are resistant to current thrombolytic therapy.  In this way, “even clots resistant to the best available treatments have been dissolved”.

In spring 2020, Prof. Vivien and his team will begin a clinical trial with 200 patients across 10 hospitals. This project holds out hope for better stroke management during the acute phase that is the leading cause of severe acquired disability, worldwide. In addition to the ready availability of this molecule, the likelihood of successful development is enhanced by the fact that we are already familiar with its side effects and how to control them.

All the know-how and methodologies implemented for the preclinical characterization of NAC have been transferred to STROK@LLIANCE, which is the only CRO 100% dedicated to preclinical stroke. Find out more about all our models and services on our website.

STROK@LLIANCE will participate to MEDICA next 19 November in Dusseldorf. Our expert Dr. Nicolas Violle (CEO) will present Strok@lliance’s services in the field of stroke preclinical research. Our partner CYCERON, represented by Dr. Benoit Haelewyn, will also be present during this event.

By taking advantage of the CYCERON facilities, STROK@LLIANCE accesses such cutting-edge technologies as 7T-MRI and PET-scan.

Please feel free to contact us if you want to schedule a one-to-one meeting. Looking forward to meeting with you.

Newsletter #6 – Modeling diversity in preclinical stroke

Taking clinical heterogeneity into account to increase the translational value of our preclinical models: the new STROK@LLIANCE research project

Early in 2019, we announced the launch of a collaborative research project aimed at improving the translational value of our innovative thrombo-embolic stroke models. In this project, clinical heterogeneity will be built into the models to evaluate the effects of co-morbidities, age and sex on outcomes and treatments. The team has already welcomed a PhD student, funded by CIFRE (Industrial Agreements for Research Training). We’re excited to be telling you about this new research project!

As both the leading cause of death and the top cause of severe disability¸ stroke is a major health problem worldwide. Sadly, few therapeutic options are available to the practitioner: only a small percentage of stroke patients can receive fibrinolysis or thrombectomy, mainly due to short therapeutic windows.

Despite more than two decades of intensive research in the field, all the treatments that were promising at the preclinical stage have failed in clinical studies, whatever the tested concept (improved fibrinolysis, therapeutic window extension, neuroprotection, or recovery improvement). This raises questions as to the relevance of available animal models (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: What have we learned from experimental animal stroke models? Similarities and discrepancies between preclinical and clinical studies

Although intraluminal MCAO models in rodents have led to numerous false positive results, probably due to significant limitations (see expert opinion #1), some academic laboratories have made a commitment to developing more translational models and establishing new gold standards. One such is the PhIND Laboratory in Caen (UMR U1237, academic partner to STROK@LLIANCE), which has fully validated an innovative model of thrombo-embolic stroke in mice that reproducibly mimics the essential features of human pathology and pharmacology (see newsletter #1).

This ischemic stroke model has been validated in healthy young male mice. While this configuration meets the strict need to reduce variability that is generally desired in preclinical pharmacology, it obscures the variability that can affect the efficacy of a drug during clinical trials. After all, isn’t stroke a complex heterogeneous pathology mainly affecting the elderly, often those suffering from comorbidities?

With this idea in mind we decided to explore this approach. Our main objective for this project is the production of a heterogeneous preclinical cohort of stroke-affected animals, including the main epidemiological and comorbid features in a proportion similar to those observed in the clinical situation. This is a matter of introducing variability and diversity into the preclinical studies.

After studying each factor independently, we will generate a cohort of stroke-affected animals inclusive of diversity. The first factors studied will be two major comorbidities: hypertension and diabetes (52% and 25% of patients are hypertensive or diabetic, respectively). Next, other factors such as age, sex or diet should be studied, possibly in different subsets of ischemic stroke etiologies that mimic cardioembolic vs. atherosclerotic origins (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: The STROK@LLIANCE research project: improving models by introducing diversity to preclinical models.

Firstly, the data collected will be useful in providing stroke pharmacological studies focused on a specific co-morbidity. Secondly, it will allow us to build up large-scale preclinical trials reproducing an aspect of clinical diversity. The point of such an innovative strategy is to better predict the effects of a drug candidate in clinic and, from the preclinical stage, to identify drug responder subgroups and anticipate the potential context of complications.

While ambitious, this project will (at the very least) provide numerous data and build our knowledge of the models. We at STROK@LLIANCE are therefore convinced that, in the current context of stroke pharmacological research, such an extensive piece of work is essential to bridging the gap between bench and bedside.

If you’re interested in our research projects and STROK@LLIANCE preclinical services, please feel free to get in touch!

ETAP-Lab is seeking for a laboratory technician for its STROK@LLIANCE in vivo lab in Caen (14000).

  • Job: laboratory technician
  • Type of contract: temporary position (CDD)
  • Duration: 6 months (potentially extended)

Under the supervision of the project manager you will contribute to the set up and performing of in vivo and in vitro experimentations and you will ensure proper lab functioning; both in compliance with the Good Laboratory Practice.

You have now the opportunity to join a young and dynamic team looking for challenge in a high level scientific and technological environment.

Dowload the full post description.


ETAP-Lab recherche un technicien de laboratoire pour son centre d’expérimentation in vivo de Caen (14000): STROK@LLIANCE.

  • Poste: Technicien de laboratoire (Bac+2/+3)
  • Type de contrat: CDD
  • Durée: 6 mois

Sous l’autorité du responsable de projet vous aurez pour objectif de contribuer à la préparation et à la réalisation des expérimentations in vivo et in vitro ainsi qu’au bon fonctionnement du laboratoire tout en respectant les normes qualité.

Vous avez l’opportunité de rejoindre une équipe jeune et dynamique, avide de challenge, dans un environnement scientifique et technologique.

Téléchargez la description complète du poste.

Newsletter #5

Topics: 

I) Strok@lliance’s scientific conference will be held every two years: see you in spring 2020!
II) European Stroke Action Plan 2018–2030: What about preclinical science?
III)
VIDEO RELEASE – How does Strok@lliance commit to provide better preclinical services?

I) Strok@lliance’s scientific conference will be held every two years see you in spring 2020!

For the past two years, Strok@lliance has organised free annual scientific meetings focused on translational models and tools, bridging the gap between bench and bedside. Thanks to the 40-50 pharmaceutical industry attendees, all of whom are involved in drug development in the field of stroke, these events have proved a great success.

What happened at these meetings? Each year, neurologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons and scientists have gathered at the prestigious Maison de la Chimie in Paris to spend a full day connecting preclinical and clinical practices, shedding light on the reality of human pathology and how it can be modelled in animals. In 2017, the day provided an overview of stroke aetiology, current acute management practices and animal modelling, and in 2018, the focus was on post-stroke deficit evaluation and rehabilitation, in both clinical and preclinical settings.

What’s next? Strok@lliance’s scientific conference will now be held every two years, to build the programme’s scientific quality. We look forward to seeing you in spring 2020 for our next event in Paris, where we expect to focus on translational imagery tools.

Please drop us a line if other topics are of interest to you… the more we share, the more our practice will improve! contact@strokalliance.com

II) European Stroke Action Plan 2018–2030: What about preclinical science?

Combatting stroke: pan-European team work

Stroke remains one of the leading causes of death and disability in Europe, and projections show that incidence of stroke is not set to fall in the next decade or beyond. According to the European Stroke Organisation (ESO): “There is compelling evidence that stroke is highly preventable, treatable and manageable. However, this requires the joint actions of governments, support organisations, healthcare professionals, clinical and preclinical researchers and the pharmaceutical and device industries”.

This is why ESO has published a European Stroke Action Plan for 2018 to 2030, following the conclusions of pan-European working groups in seven domains of interest, including primary prevention, the organisation of stroke services and rehabilitation. Patient organisations are represented in each domain.

In addition, a working group that includes our academic partner, Pr. Denis Vivien, has focused on translational stroke research.

What about preclinical stroke research?

 

The development of more relevant experimental models that mirror the complexity of human diseases is a key challenge in preclinical research for the coming years.
 
Regarding reperfusion studies, models allowing different clot compositions and locations to be mimicked should be used to improve acute therapeutic strategies in a personalized medical approach. The concept of neuroprotection has evolved to become more holistic, since protection is required for functional units made up of neurons, glial cells, pericytes, macrophages and the vasculature. In particular, models of white matter lesion and small vessel disease, as well as new imaging tools, are required for the study of vascular integrity, haemodynamic responses and blood–brain barrier function.

Regarding targets, inflammatory and immune responses as well as oxidative or nitrosative stress at reperfusion are promising. Regarding haemorrhagic stroke, new molecular processes including inflammation have been identified, yet translational models of aneurysm are not in common use and still need to be improved. Overall, the diversity observed in clinical practice is not being satisfactorily mimicked, because the introduction of comorbidities and reasonable variability (genetics, age, sex, stroke intensity, etc.) in preclinical models has yet to be implemented, despite STAIR’s recommendation of 20 years ago.

 

“Recent research provides hope of developing new and effective treatments for stroke. However, the translation from basic to clinical research has failed over recent decades, underlining the need for innovative methodological strategies. Networking between laboratory scientists and clinicians, better experimental designs and more relevant experimental models are required to improve our science.”

Pr. D. Vivien

On the methodological side, preclinical confirmatory studies, designed entirely separately from exploratory studies, should be performed as an intermediate translational step. Here, the goal is to bring preclinical practice closer to clinical study quality and methodology (e.g. rigorous methodology, transparency, availability of the data, etc.).

The link to the full ESO publication: “Action Plan for Stroke in Europe 2018–2030” is here: 

III) How does Strok@lliance commit to provide better preclinical services?



Thanks to a unique academic/private partnership, Strok@lliance is able to provide state-of-the-art preclinical services, anticipating future needs and directions in the field.

Strok@lliance therefore offers original translational rodent stroke models and imaging tools issuing from Pr. Vivien’s research team, to meet the need for more translational studies. With more than 25 years of expertise behind it, ETAP-Lab guarantees that studies are performed in compliance with the very highest quality standards.

Strok@lliance is also proud to announce the spring 2019 launch of a PhD thesis project (co-financed by both partners) to assess the impact of comorbidities and introduce variability in a translational model of thrombotic stroke in mice.

To find out more about the future of translational stroke research, please watch Pr. Vivien’s presentation from the 2018 Strok@lliance meeting at the Maison de la Chimie.