• Aurélien Marabelle MD, PhD

    Clinical Director of Cancer Immunotherapy at the Gustave Roussy Institute

  • Prof. Dr. Debby Laukens

    IBD Centre of the University Hospital of Ghent

  • Dr. Jörg Distler

    University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

  • Dr. Florian Rieder

    Cleveland Clinic

  • RXC004 clinical investigators

Aurélien Marabelle is the Clinical Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program at Gustave Roussy Cancer Center in Villejuif, France. Dr Marabelle’s clinical practice is dedicated to Early Phase Clinical trials in Cancer Immunotherapy and his translational research is focused on mechanisms of action of immune checkpoint monoclonal antibodies. He works as a senior medical oncologist and an investigator in the Drug Development Department (DITEP) directed by Prof Jean-Charles Soria. He is coordinating a team focusing on cancer immunotherapy translational research projects in the INSERM U1015 lab directed by Prof Laurence Zitvogel. Dr Marabelle is a member of ESMO, ASCO, EATI & AACR.

The IBD Research Unit is rooted in the clinical department of gastroenterology at Ghent University Hospital. Together with expert gastroenterologists, we aim to identify new therapeutic targets for Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis, together also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These diseases are chronic relapsing conditions characterized by periods of active inflammation of the digestive tract, usually the small and/or the large intestine.

Despite the recent progress in controlling inflammation in IBD using biologicals, a substantial number of patients do not respond to the currently available drugs, or lose response over time. Thus, the optimal use of available drugs and the development of new potent drugs with curative intent remains an important challenge.

In addition, evidence supporting a positive impact of the current drugs on the natural history of the disease including structural damage is not convincing. For example, despite active drug use, recurrent episodes of inflammation are still followed by excess deposition of extracellular matrix which progressively leads to structural fibrosis and narrowing of the intestinal lumen. Up to one third of Crohn’s patients develop an end-stage fibrotic disease characterized by intestinal strictures and therefore, the development of drugs able to prevent or reverse fibrosis would decrease the need for surgery.

An underestimated and unsolved problem in IBD management is the occurrence of chronic fatigue, even during remission periods. Modulating the neurobehavioral changes linked with the disease would have an important impact on quality of life of patients.

Together, our research group focuses on the identification and validation of novel targets to tackle intestinal inflammation and the development of the aforementioned complications in IBD patients.

Jörg Distler is currently holding a Heisenberg professorship at the Department of Internal Medicine 3 and Institute for Clinical Immunology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

His clinical focuses are connective tissue diseases and fibrotic diseases. Jörg Distler is heading the outpatient clinic of the Department of Internal Medicine 3, which accounts for three quarters of the patient contacts of the department. He is also managing attendant of the Department of Internal Medicine 3 and vice-head of the rheumatologic routine laboratory. Moreover, he is principal investigators in numerous international clinical trials (investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored).

His research focuses on tissue remodeling in inflammatory diseases. He published > 250 Pubmed-listed articles including > 180 original publications including contributions as senior and corresponding author in journals such as Nature Medicine, Nature Communications, Journal of Experimental Medicine and PNAS. His work has a strong translational focus: Preclinical work from his group provided the scientific basis for several clinical trials in fibrotic diseases such as systemic sclerosis. Examples include tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as nintedanib, imatinib and dasatinib (several phase 2 and one currently ongoing phase 3 trial), sGC stimulators such as riociguat (phase 2 trials currently evaluated), cannabinoid receptors (phase 2 trial completed, phase 3 trial in preparation), 5HT-2B receptor antagonists (POC study completed, phase 3 trial in preparation). He was not only deeply involved into the preclinical developmental program for those targets, but also served as an advisory board member and principle investigator in most of those studies.

He received several awards including a Rudolf-Schoen award, an European League Against Rheumatism award, a Pfizer Research award and a Career Support Award of Medicine of the Ernst Jung Foundation. He serves as editor for several rheumatologic and dermatologic journals, is member of the Faculty 1000 and was head of the EUSTAR Basic Research Committee. He is ad-hoc reviewer for all major Rheumatology journals and also for many interdisciplinary journals including Nature Medicine, Science, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Science Translational Medicine, Nature Communications and Lancet as well as for numerous funding agencies.

Florian Rieder, MD, received his medical degree from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Medical School in Munich, Germany. He underwent training in Internal Medicine / Gastroenterology at the Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin I, Universitätsklinikum Regensburg, Germany and a residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Rieder has performed a research fellowships at Harvard Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Rieder is an investigator at the Department of Inflammation and Immunity and an Associate Staff at the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland. His clinical focus is patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) with a special emphasis on the field of pathogenesis, prediction and
therapy of IBD.

Dr. Rieder has published more than 70 articles and book chapters and has been recognized for his expertise as indicated through invitations to the steering committee of the 2 nd European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO) scientific workshop on ‘Intestinal healing’, group leader of the 4 th ECCO scientific workshop on ‘Intestinal fibrosis’, invitations as a full member of the consensus panel of the ECCO guidelines on Crohn’s disease, lead author of the ECCO guidelines on Ulcerative colitis and lead author of the first ECCO clinical consensus on ‘Diagnosis and Management of Intestinal Fibrosis’ as well as multiple international invitations as a speaker, session chair or conference faculty.

Dr. Rieder serves as an abstract reviewer for all major GI conferences, he is an associate editor (Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology) and on several editorial boards of medical journals (Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Fibrogenesis and Tissue Repair, American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology). He is proud of his significant ties to the ECCO, which he served as the chair of Y-ECCO, member of the ECCO operational board and prior Y-ECCO committee member and currently member of the scientific committee. He is currently chair of REACH-IBD and is a member of the Professional Education Committee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Professor Sarah P Blagden, PhD, FRCP, Associate Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicines & Consultant Medical Oncologist/ Director of Early Phase Cancer trails unit & Oxford ECMC lead, University of Oxford, Department of Oncology. More information.

Dr. Natalie Cook, MBchB, MRCP, PhD, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Experimental Cancer Medicine and Honorary Consultant, Christie Hospital. More information.

Professor Ruth Plumber, MA, DPhil, BMBch, MD, FRCP,  Clinical Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine, Northern Institute of Cancer Research, Newcastle University.More information.