The project was initiated by the Gerontopole of the Toulouse University Hospital in close collaboration with the Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier (UT3) University, the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm), and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
Initiated in 2018, the INSPIRE platform project was born of findings shared by researchers from the Toulouse University Hospital, Inserm and CNRS. Mechanisms and processes of biological aging must be studied in all their aspects (biological, clinical, digital, imaging) and in translational way with humans and animals to determine biomarkers of aging and drug therapies or not to prevent the onset of advanced aging-related pathologies. The idea of creating a large research platform sharing lot of data was born and less than a year and a half later, the first participant joined the human research cohort at the Centre de Recherche Clinique du Gérontopôle. At the same time, a large scientific community of researchers has joined the INSPIRE platform in the various Toulouse research centres. Here are the founding members of this project, presented below:
Gérontopôle du CHU de Toulouse : Prevention of Dependency during the course of aging : Assessment, prevention, treatment of declines
Directed by Pr Bruno Vellas, the Gérontopôle du CHU de Toulouse is internationally recognized in the fields of geriatrics, prevention of cognitive decline and frailty and is the largest research center in Europe on these themes. Clinical consultations (20,000 patients per year) are based on an approach centered on patients’ functions for healthy aging. In addition, it is the only WHO Collaborating Center on Frailty, Clinical Research and Training in Geriatrics.
Le Centre d’épidémiologie et de recherche en santé des populations (CERPOP – Inserm / UT3 UMR 1295): Methodology of clinical trials for the prevention of aginghttps:
The CERPOP UMR 1295 has recognized expertise in the design of cohorts and intervention trials in the field of prevention of aging-related functions decline. The research conducted in the unit is translational research ensuring a continuum between clinical research, population research that can lead to the development of decision support tools and health recommendations. The unit designed and analyzed large-scale trials in the area of prevention of cognitive decline: GuidAge, MAPT and HATICE for the FDA and EMA health agencies. This lab is coordinated by Sandrine Andrieu.
RESTORE (UMR 1301 Inserm 5070 – CNRS EFS / UT3): a geroscience and rejuvenation research center
RESTORE’s challenge aims at bringing together research workforces in a wide variety of complementary areas ranging from mathematics, physics, chemistry to biology or bedside-medicine. Indeed, this unique cross-disciplinary research lab thus dedicated to exploring new ways into global investigation is ready to offer applications of tomorrow in the fields of Geroscience and Rejuvenation. RESTORE encompasses mainly a consortium of young, highly motivated investigators and assistants educated and trained in the top ranking labs, as well as an international network of outstanding scientists. RETORE’s high level and innovative technology facilities may be accessible to academic or non-academic communities. Thanks to its partnership with CARe (https://care-graduateschool.fr), the attached Graduate school, RESTORE appeals to foreign Master’s or PhD prospective students with a view to educating the next generation of scholars by enhancing this pluridisciplinary research approach.
Toulouse Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (Infinity – Inserm / CNRS / UT3): Neuroinflammation, biomarkers and responses to the challenges of Immunology, Inflammation and Infectious Diseases:
The Center of Physiopathology Toulouse-Purpan (CPTP, headed by Prof. Roland Liblau) is one of the founding members of INSPIRE. On 01/01/2021, the CPTP and the Unit for Epithelial Differentiation and Rheumatoid Autoimmunity (UDEAR, directed by Prof. Guy Serre) merged to form the Toulouse Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (Infinity, directed by Dr. Nicolas Fazilleau). This Institute brings together and structures research forces (14 research teams and 4 technological platforms) around a common goal: the study of the innate and adaptive immune system in the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases, including certain neurodegenerative diseases, but also host-pathogen relationships during viral or parasitic infections. Infinity is thus developing clinical research programs on diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or neurodegenerative diseases. Infinity is also working on optimizing vaccine responses and developing new approaches to immunotherapy.
Within the INSPIRE program, Infnity seeks to identify predictive biomarkers and therapeutic targets to prevent or reverse abnormalities associated with aging by molecular analysis of innate and adaptive immune system dysfunction since immune cells have a key role to play in healthy aging.
Institut des Maladies Métaboliques et Cardiovasculaires (I2MC – UMR 1048 Inserm / UT3) :
Recognition of the Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases (I2MC) is based on translational research in the field of metabolic (obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia) and cardiovascular (thrombosis, atherosclerosis, heart and renal failure) diseases. Pr Angelo Parini and I2MC research teams address the molecular, cellular and systemic aspects of each of these pathologies to identify predictive biomarkers and new therapeutic targets. Numerous clinical research protocols resulting from the fundamental research of the I2MC are carried out in collaboration with the Hospital Centers and the Clinical Investigation Center of CHU Toulouse. Most of the 12MC is involved in studying the impact of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases on frailty and accelerated aging. The work carried out allowed, among others, the identification of new links between cellular senescence, obesity, heart failure and sarcopenia.
One of the I2MC teams works particularly on adipocyte secretions, obesity and associated pathologies. Recent studies have identified the crucial role of apelin, a peptide, on the installation and development of metabolic alterations at the origin of age-related muscle fragility (sarcopenia). Further investigations are ongoing to identify new metabolism-related molecules that can be used as biomarkers of capacity loss or targeted to establish innovative therapeutic strategies in gerosciences.
Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale (CRCA – CNRS / UT3) : Understanding the mechanisms of memory
The CRCA is expert in cerebral physiological mechanisms associated with advancing age causing cognitive decline. Its researchers use a mouse model, and at the same time various complementary approaches: in silico, molecular and behavioral analyses. They study the plasticity and memory capacity of the brain during normal aging in order to identify therapeutic targets in the fields of « Inflammaging » and metabolic and memory dysfunctions. They assess how the exposome – lifetime exposure to environmental stimuli or a balanced diet – can influence cognitive decline due to aging. CRCA is led by Dr Claire Rampon and Raphaël Jeanson.
Laboratoire Toulouse Neuro Imaging Center (ToNIC – Inserm / UT3) : Precision medical imaging
This medical imaging laboratory, fully named Toulouse Neuro Imaging Center (ToNIC), is developing expertise in multimodal MRI imaging and positron emission tomography to study aging and various physiopathological pathways in vivo (preclinical and clinical trials) in real time. Within INSPIRE, the unit’s expertise will be used to quantify very precisely different imaging biomarkers of aging. Pr Pierre Payoux is the head of this lab.