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  • Location : Clamart
Last update 2011-03-24 18:37:05.741

Marc Humbert MD, PhD, Respiratory Medicine

Course and current status

Prof Marc Humbert, Director, INSERM U999, Université Paris-Sud 11 & Vice Chairman, National Reference Centre for Pulmonary Hypertension, Department of Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine, Hospital Antoine Béclère, Clamart, France

Marc Humbert, MD, PhD, is Professor at the South Paris University, France. In addition to his academic responsibilities, Marc Humbert is consultant and specialist at the National Reference Centre for Pulmonary Hypertension, Department of Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine, Hospital Antoine Béclère, Clamart, France. Marc Humbert is Chairman of the South Paris Pulmonary Hypertension Centre for Research and Care (CTRS INSERM), Director of the INSERM Unit 999 "Pulmonary Hypertension: Pathophysiology and Innovative Therapies", Chairman of the European Respiratory Society Group “Pulmonary Circulation and Vascular Diseases”, Editor of the 4th World Congress of the Pulmonary Circulation, Editor of the European Respiratory Review, Associate Editor of the European Respiratory Journal, Member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Marc Humbert has published widely in the fields of asthma, pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary inflammation. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles (including 290 in the last 10 years) in world top journals, including N Engl J Med, Lancet, Nature, Nature Med, J Clin Invest, J Exp Med, as well as in the top journals of respiratory and cardiovascular medicine (Am J Resp Respir Crit Care Med, J Am Coll Cardiol, Circulation, Circ Res, etc.). He has accumulated 13000 citations, with 40 papers cited >100 times, 20 cited >200 times, and 2 cited >600 times. His most cited paper was published in 2004 in N Engl J Med. His H-index is 61.

He has been awarded with the European Respiratory Society Cournand Lecture in 2006 with a lecture on "The Burden of Pulmonary Hypertension". Marc Humbert has recently received the Descartes-Huygens Prize 2009 from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Marc Humbert is the vice-dean of the Faculté de Médecine Paris-Sud 11. In 2010, he was appointed Vice-President of the AP-HP (Assitance Publique Hopitaux de Paris), in charge of Research and is the present president of the Research Committee of the AP-HP.

Scientific summary

Pulmonary hypertension describes a group of devastating diseases, comprising idiopathic and associated forms, causing breathlessness, loss of exercise capacity and death due to elevated pulmonary artery pressure and subsequent right heart failure. Pulmonary arterial hypertension is defined by an elevation of the mean pulmonary artery pressure above 25mmHg at rest without elevation of the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. Extensive pulmonary artery remodeling with loss of vessel patency is the underlying pathomechanism. The main scope of my present research activities relates to pulmonary hypertension pathophysiology and clinical management. Deciphering of the mechanisms of lung vascular remodeling and identification of novel molecular targets to alleviate and ultimately cure pulmonary hypertension is the main objective of my program. On the basis of a nationwide web-based Registry, a biobank, and highly competitive scientists, my group studies a number of molecular pathways causing pulmonary vascular remodeling in human and animal models of pulmonary hypertension, identifies targets for therapy, fosters drug development based on these targets and test novel treatments. My main goal is to alleviate and cure pulmonary hypertension, a large burden to mankind, and to develop novel therapies.

Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms and the immunopathology of vascular remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension is a major focus of my team. This team attempts (1) to identify the molecular abnormalities that contribute to the abnormal pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell phenotype responsible for exaggerated proliferation of these cells in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (investigation of the serotonin pathway, interaction with the BMPR-II pathway etc…), (2) to test the hypothesis that pulmonary artery endothelial cells actively contribute to pulmonary arterial hypertension development by promoting pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell hyperplasia, (3) to study the role for endothelial/smooth muscle cell cross talk in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, (4) to study novel pathways (CXCL12/CXCR4-R7 axis and magnesium) in hypoxic pulmonary hypertension, (5) to test the hypothesis that pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells have a tumor-like phenotype in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, (6) to test the hypothesis that inflammatory and auto-immune mechanisms play a role in the disease, (7) to evaluate cell therapy for requalification of right ventricle dysfunction by the injection of cardiac progenitor cells.*

In addition, my clinical group promotes clinical research in pulmonary hypertension with an emphasis on registries, patient management and development of innovative therapies. This Team (1) develops and monitors a National web-based Registry on pulmonary arterial hypertension and chronic thrombo-embolic pulmonary hypertension, (2) analyses the different variants of the disease with an emphasis for the description of the clinical, hemodynamic and functional characteristics of these patients, (3) promotes innovative therapeutic strategies such as combination of known therapies including prostacycline derivatives, endothelin receptor antagonists and type 5 phosphodiesterase inhibitors and evaluation of novel agents.


In conclusion, my focus on pulmonary hypertension pathophysiology and innovative therapies” aims to translate novel information produced by our basic and clinical research units into advances for patient care. My group includes the French leading teams in pulmonary hypertension research and care, working jointly to improve the understanding and treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension, a severe condition with a largely underestimated burden and significant unmet needs. My aim is to allow synergies between basic scientists and clinicians with a shared access to a large clinical database and biobank, promoting education, medical awareness and cognitive studies in a fast-moving and competitive area of medical research.

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