Published on 05.11.2021
"2020 was marked by the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis. The solidarity and commitment that animated our teams, whether in research on genetic diseases or in Covid-19 research and care, made it possible to continue our activities to the fullest, for patients and their families. For Imagine remains driven by its primary objective, that of accelerating research and changing the lives of families affected by genetic diseases," emphasizes Professor Stanislas Lyonnet, Director of the Institute.
Adapt and accelerate research and care for genetic diseases
"What guides Imagine is the children. The fight against genetic diseases has not stopped with the crisis, we have remained focused on our fight", Arnold Munnich, President of the Imagine Foundation
The research teams have been strongly mobilized and numerous discoveries have been made, enabling a better understanding, diagnosis and sometimes treatment of genetic diseases. Clinical research teams have ensured the continuity of clinical trials and patient care. Major cross-disciplinary research projects have been launched, offering new hope for diagnosis and treatment.
The Institute has also launched Human and Social Sciences programs to support the lives of patients and their families beyond research and care, and to be even more open to patient associations.
Getting involved in the fight against Covid-19
From the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Imagine's teams have been involved in research on the disease, in the hospital by reinforcing the clinical and intensive care units, through technological or medical innovations, by reinforcing the set-up of testing platforms, or by their support to keep the Institute alive throughout the crisis.
Major discoveries have been made, allowing us to better understand why the response to infection is so variable from one individual to another. Three publications by teams from the Institute in the prestigious journal Science have revealed a deficiency in type I interferons in severe forms of the disease. These proteins are usually produced by the immune system in response to a viral infection and prevent the virus from multiplying. However, in at least 20 to 25% of severe forms of the disease, they are not produced or are blocked by autoantibodies.
These advances illustrate once again that research on genetic diseases, often rare, has implications for the understanding and treatment of much more common diseases.
"The crisis we are experiencing is pushing us to think about tomorrow in an innovative and pioneering way. "Pioneering in its ability to find flexibility, speed, and break down barriers and decompartmentalize in the service of Health" is how President Emmanuel Macron described Imagine during his visit in December 2020", Laure Boquet, General Delegate of Imagine
In February 2020, the Institute was awarded the Carnot Institute label, a label that illustrates the quality of its partnership and industrial relations.
Throughout the year, Imagine continued its translational and clinical research efforts by promoting its developments to academic and industrial partners and by encouraging researchers to transfer technology and create start-ups. The Institute was the winner of or coordinated two major national cross-disciplinary projects supported by the French government and the French National Research Agency as part of the "Programme d'Investissement d'Avenir". It also launched the first financial and expertise gas pedal for genetic diseases, the Springboard.
In October 2020, Imagine inaugurated a technology center unique in Europe, the LabTech Single-Cell@Imagine, which will give doctors access to a patient's cellular identity card to better identify his or her disease, its evolutionary risk and the best treatment.
The Institute has launched an international call for tenders for the recruitment of teams in the field of genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders. This recruitment is part of the Institute's 2018-2028 roadmap.
Nothing would be possible without the guidance and support of our founding members, our supporters, patrons and friends, who enable us to do more, for so many children ever more numerous. Thank you to all of them!