Daniel Pouliquen, born in Lorient, Brittany, France on March 17, 1960, obtained his Pharmacist degree together with a specialized degree (CES) in Clinical Biochemistry in Rennes, France, in 1984. After a Ph.D in Biological Sciences and Health at Rennes I University in 1988, he developed the characterization and applications of new NMR contrast agents for proton MRI, and taught Biophysics as an assistant professor in the department of Biophysics, School of Medicine in Angers, France. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Radiology of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA (Pr D. D. Stark), he became staff researcher (CR1) of the French National Institute of Health (Inserm) in December 1991, and pursued his researches in Angers on the design and applications of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) in MRI. From 1995 to 2001, he extended the scope of NMR relaxometry to the study of water states and dynamic properties in normal and tumor tissues, organisms under development (seeds, fish eggs and embryos), and biological fluids. These studies led to demonstrate some implications of the diet in changes in the biophysics of water in tissues during carcinogenesis. With this background, he further explored the quantitative and qualitative changes of the different water phases in mitochondria and pointed to some beneficial effects of combinations of phytochemicals in the prevention of some experimental models of cancers in mice and rats (myeloma, glioblastoma) in Angers (Inserm EMI00/18) and then in Nantes (Inserm U419 and U601). Since 2008, he works at the development of experimental models of malignant mesothelioma for the evaluation of new strategies of treatment of this aggressive cancer, based on the use of phytochemicals, epigenetic drugs or the vaccine strain of measles virus, in order to induce specific immune responses directed against the cancer cells (Inserm U892 - team 4, CRCNA, Nantes).
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is one of the most aggressive tumors, usually associated with chronic asbestos exposure. Clinical strategies for MM treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, are of limited efficacy, urging search for new therapeutic approaches. Our team develops new therapeutic strategies to treat this cancer, which are based on the induction of an immunogenic tumor cell death by two different ways which may induce an anti-tumor immune response. These strategies are (1) the use of epigenetic drugs such as DNA methyltransferases inhibitors (DNMTi) and/or histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi), and (2) oncolytic virotherapy with the attenuated vaccinal strain (Schwartz) of Measles virus. We have developed experimental models of malignant mesothelioma in inbred mouse and rat strains which are now used for the evaluation of these strategies. We study the cell death induced by these treatments and their immunological consequences such as the enhancement of the expression of tumor-specific associated antigens (TAAs), and the activation of a specific T cell response after phagocytosis of the apoptotic tumor cells by dendritic cells. We also analyze how the immune system reacts to the transplantation of mesothelioma tumor cells after immunization with tumor cells treated in vitro with epigenetic drugs in the presence of immunoadjuvants.