S02/E06: Cancer mission… curing more, curing better

In this final episode of the season two, Jennifer Baker meets Dr Martine Caroff a French scientist, mentor and entrepreneur who founded two equally impressive biotech businesses. Her first, LPS-BioSciences, built on her doctoral studies in bacterial endotoxins and later applied them to vaccines, diagnostic, cosmetics, and medical devices. A later venture, Hephaistos-Pharma, develops immunotherapy for cancer treatments. Her passion and drive was recognised when she took home the EU’s 2019 Women Innovator Prize. Martine was also a director at the prestigious CNRS, Paris-Saclay University campus.

Left unchecked, the number of people newly diagnosed with cancer every year in Europe will increase from the current 3.5 to over 4.3 million by 2035. Only 10% of patients are completely cured with immunotherapies; clinicians need innovative “immuno-stimulators” to improve patient’s ability to fight the cancer.

Hephaistos has a pre-clinical drug, called ONCO-boost, which triggers a patient’s body to recruit and prepare cancer-fighting cells (i.e. T-cells and macrophages), while helping the immune defenses better identify and destroy tumour cells. This sort of work is important as the EU rolls out its EU Mission on Cancer through better prevention, diagnosis, cures and aftercare with the aim of saving 3 million more lives by 2030. This includes the need for better infrastructure, facilities and funding, and greater “health equity” across member states, as well as a focus on childhood cancer to “cure more” but also to “cure better”.


Find out more:

·       Watch Martin Caroff’s video for Women Innovators Prize

·       Discover more on the EU Mission on Cancer

·       Read about Martin Caroff’s businesses, LPS-BioSciences / Hephaistos-Pharma

·       EU-backed project INNO-BOOST

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