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Dr. Guy Sauvageau elected to the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada

Published on septembre 11, 2018

Dr. Guy Sauvageau, Principal Investigator at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Université de Montréal and hematologist at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal), has been elected a member of the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).

A multidisciplinary commitment to cancer research

Guy Sauvageau is a co-founder of several initiatives, including the Quebec Leukemia Cell Bank, the Centre of Excellence for Cellular Therapy of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre as well as ExcellThera, a biotechnology company. He is also a co-founder, former CEO and former Scientific Director of the IRIC.

An honorary distinction

A dedicated scientist throughout those various mandates, he is receiving the highest distinction that can be awarded to an academic working in the fields of the Arts, Humanities and Sciences. Founded in 1882, the objective of the Royal Society of Canada is to foster innovation and showcase outstanding contributions to the country’s intellectual culture. It has almost 2,000 members, men and women, selected by their peers for their exceptional achievements.

Research work providing hope

Guy Sauvageau is being honored for the excellence of his work based on the study of genes involved in regulating the proliferation, survival and differentiation of normal and leukemia hematopoietic stem cells. His laboratory is known for developing tests based on primary cells adapted to the high-throughput screening of genes and small molecules. These tests provide an opportunity to study the mechanisms involved in the expansion and the differentiation of blood stem cells, as well as to identify new chemical compounds able to target and eliminate leukemia cells.

In collaboration with the team led by Anne Marinier, Principal Investigator and Director of Medicinal Chemistry at IRIC, he discovered “UM171”, a molecule that can multiply by 10 the number of hematopoietic stem cells present in a unit of umbilical cord blood. Combined with a technology facilitating the culture of stem cells owned by ExCellThera, the molecule was tested in a clinical study involving 25 leukemia patients. The results of Phases I and II of the clinical trial are promising and provide hope for the treatment of patients suffering from blood diseases.

Furthermore, in close collaboration with a pluridisciplinary team, Dr. Sauvageau manages the Leucegene project, a large-scale program based on developing diagnostic and prognostic tests as well as on identifying new therapeutic strategies for patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The characterization of the transcriptional and mutational landscape of hundreds of primary samples from patients suffering from AML resulted in better characterizing the various AML subgroups. Those same samples also underwent several chemical screens that resulted in identifying molecules with strong therapeutic potential.

“Guy Sauvageau is a credit to the teams that work together, on a daily basis at IRIC, in fundamental, translational and applied research to fight cancer. By recognizing the scope of his work, the Royal Society of Canada is saluting his commitment to advances in research in the field of life sciences, for the benefit of Canadians”, said Michel Bouvier, Chief Executive Officer of IRIC.

About the Royal Society of Canada

Founded in 1882, the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) comprises the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. Its mission is to recognize scholarly, research and artistic excellence, to advise governments and organizations, and to promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and with other national academies around the world: