24 JAN 2019

Due to our lifestyle (that includes a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, smoking and stress), cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders remain a major public health problem. In this context, the Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition (ICAN) is organizing a symposium on 19 December at the Heart Institute around this "cardiometabolic revolution". 

During this round table, academic and industrial actors are invited to identify the long-term policies to be pursued in this field and to define the priority areas on which to invest today to prepare the medicine of tomorrow.

Professor Stéphane Hatem is a physiologist at the Pitié Salpêtrière Heart Institute and General Director of IHU-ICAN. He explains how this IHU is developing the medicine of the future in the field of cardiometabolic diseases and nutrition by translating research discoveries into therapeutic and diagnostic innovations.


The IHU-ICAN develops the medicine of the future in the field of cardiometabolic diseases and nutrition. © Shutterstock

A round table bringing together researchers, clinicians and industrialists to fight cardiometabolic diseases

The extraordinary global increase in obesity, diabetes and liver disease in developed countries, coupled with already high rates of cardiovascular disease, is reaching unprecedented proportions. These diseases are grouped under the relatively new concept of cardiometabolic disorders.

Entirely dedicated to studying and understanding these disorders, the IHU-ICAN is a major player in addressing this societal challenge. 

“We want to decompartmentalize clinical, fundamental and industrial research in order to identify the needs and contributions of each and to build innovative therapeutic strategies," says Stéphane Hatem.

In addition to this event, the IHU-ICAN has developed the IHU-ICAN Series, which brings together a large number of international cardiometabolists every year around the major breakthroughs in the knowledge of these disorders. and in the care of patients.

ICAN, an IHU specialized in cardiometabolism

Little known to the general public, the field of cardiometabolism is in full swing.

"By focusing on the interface between metabolic disorders and the cardio-circulatory system, cardiometabolism helps to better understand and manage diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, NASH[1]or dyslipidemias[2] , "says Hatem. 

Created in 2012, the Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition (ICAN) is one of six university-hospital institutes (IHU) in France. Built on four pillars (research, care, education and industrial development), each IHU brings together academic research teams, healthcare professionals and companies.

As a reference center for cardiovascular diseases, the IHU-ICAN was one of the precursors of this cardiometabolic revolution. By grouping specialized teams on the heart, vessels, metabolism, nutrition, liver and imaging within the same structure, it brings together complementary specialists to support the patient in a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach for personalized medicine.

In order to identify the risks in an individual beforehand and to better adapt its care, the IHU-ICAN develops new means of investigation and diagnosis in the service of this customized medicine.

A true catalyst between basic and clinical research, this institute also contributes to the transfer of knowledge directly to patient care. Single window for industrial players, it allows, through industrial collaborations, to valorize its multiple advances.

"We are a gateway for the industrial world in academic and clinical research. By relying on structures already in place in our supervisory bodies, we enable them to access human bio-resources, complex data analysis platforms, management of regulatory issues, etc." says Hatem.

A strategic axis: translational research

"The very essence of the IHU-ICAN is to be an accelerator of translational research that goes from research to the diffusion of innovations," says Hatem.

From an original discovery from clinical or basic research, translational research aims to develop a practical application, such as a therapeutic innovation or a new means of investigation.

"We have, for example, identified new biomarkers, such as the use of calcium score[3] for cardiovascular disease risks, and implemented new imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging", says Hatem.

The IHU-ICAN’s challenge is to enter the era of predictive medicine, which consists of identifying and monitoring the risk factors of each of these cardiometabolic diseases as early as possible.

"The clinical goal is to implement treatments and lifestyle measures personalized and adapted to the characteristics of individuals," says Hatem.

In this perspective, the IHU-ICAN has developed unique translational research tools such as the creation of a platform to process and analyze a critical mass of complex clinical data.

It has also enabled the emergence of interdisciplinary research projects involving clinicians and researchers and contributed to the opening of new day hospitals and new care pathways.

Alongside this personalized medicine, the challenge of the IHU-ICAN is also to promote better management of serious cardiac diseases.

"Thanks to innovative techniques, we are at the forefront in the treatment of acute episodes of diseases such as heart failure, heart transplants or heart rhythm disorders," says Hatem.

Through the development of telemedicine, the Institute aims to better understand the alternation of hospital-home periods by helping hospital patients to readjust to their daily lives.

"The Calypso project, in which we are involved, is an example of disruptive technology for the benefit of patients with severe heart failure who will be able to better manage their disease," adds Hatem.

Finally, the IHU-ICAN participated in the wide dissemination of knowledge and training, for example, through an online course open to those dedicated to treating obesity, that brought together more than 1800 participants.

An institute at the heart of the Sorbonne University ecosystem

From research to the development of new applications, the IHU-ICAN relies on the strength and expertise of research units and medical teams at Sorbonne University and Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital.

"We benefit from the environment of a reference hospital where the clinical activity in cardiometabolism is considerable," says Hatem.

Beyond this presence within the Faculty of Medicine, IHU-ICAN has created connections with different structures of Sorbonne University. "We have, for example, developed interfaces with the Faculty of Science and Engineering around the processing of complex data and artificial intelligence," says Hatem. The goal is not only to analyze these data, but also to develop new algorithms, especially in imaging, for diagnostic assistance.

Highly involved in the masters of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, several members of the IHU-ICAN intervene in these courses. In addition, internships for Polytech Sorbonne students have been set up to enable these future engineers to meet clinicians and develop, with them, technologies at the service of personalized medicine.

To find out more about the symposium on December 19th symposium

Symposium on the cardiometabolic revolution will take place on December 19 at the Heart Institute © Shutterstock

[1] NASH (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is the inflammation of the liver due to a fat overload of this organ due to poor diet and excessive consumption of sugars.

[2] A dyslipidemia is an abnormal concentration of lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids or free fatty acids) in the blood.

[3] Score that measures the calcification of the arteries.