Dr Marc Poirot is the winner of the prestigious Schroepfer Prize awarded by the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS), which will be presented to him on 2 May 2023 at the Denver-USA congress. The AOCS is an American learned society interested in lipids in all their fields of application. This medal rewards Marc Poirot and his team at the Toulouse Cancer Research Centre for their discovery of the existence of new cholesterol transformation pathways, which generate new bioactive lipids involved in the control of carcinogenesis.
The research he and his team are conducting is partly based on the development of novel chemical tools to address unresolved biological questions. Dr Poirot currently leads the INOV team at the Toulouse Cancer Research Centre with his long-time collaborator Dr Sandrine Silvente-Poirot. Their work is marked by key discoveries that have been made possible by the talents of exceptional collaborators. The team first revealed the unexpected importance of cholesterol in the anticancer action of tamoxifen, which led them to identify an enzyme: cholesterol-5,6-epoxide hydrolase (ChEH), which they were able to show was central to the biochemical transformation of this lipid. The molecular characterisation of this enzyme enabled them to identify the genes encoding the proteins constituting this enzyme, revealing its potential involvement in embryonic development. This led them to hypothesise the existence of a metabolic transformation product of cholesterol that can regulate differentiation, proliferation and cell death. They imagined and chemically synthesised these molecules, whose biological properties they were then able to establish and demonstrate the existence in humans as metabolites and therefore molecules of the self. Their group thus revealed the existence of a new branch of cholesterol metabolism centred on the transformation of 5,6-cholesterol epoxides and defined its importance in the physiopathology of cancers. In particular, they identified dendrogenins and characterised the tumour suppressive properties of dendrogenin A and elucidated its mechanism of action; they also identified oncosterone as an oncometabolite and characterised its tumour-promoting properties and also identified the enzyme responsible for its biosynthesis and its target receptors. These results open new perspectives on the understanding of the mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis and offer new therapeutic perspectives.
These findings have earned him the highest scientific distinction in the field of sterol and steroid research
Dr Poirot has over 130 publications with more than 14,000 citations. He is on the editorial board of several international scientific journals, including the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Steroids, and Biochemical Pharmacology.
Toulouse Cancer Research Center (Oncopole)
Toulouse - FR
+33 5 82 74 15 75
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