Actualité - Uveal Melanoma

Portrait - Samar Alsafadi, melanome uveal group manager


Samar Alsafadi has piloted the uveal melanoma translational research group, an emerging team supported by SIRIC, since 2016. A perfect fit for a researcher who places interdisciplinary collaboration at the heart of her activity.

Samar Alsafadi

Samar Alsafadi

Her main responsibilities are structuring translational research on uveal melanoma and identifying potential treatment avenues. The group’s ultimate objective is to conduct preclinical trials that will eventually allow the clinical research teams to offer early trials to patients.

With 500 to 600 new cases per year in France, uveal melanoma is considered a rare tumor. Institut Curie is the leading care-provider for this pathology in France thanks to its team of internationally recognized experts on the topic. There have been a number of achievements over the past few years but a lot remains to be done to better understand this pathology and optimize the treatments. Samar Alsafadi and her team are working on this with support from multiple national and international partners. “It’s crucial that we work closely with the basic research teams,” maintains Samar Alsafadi. “There’s more to learn about uveal melanoma and, in order to develop new treatments, we need to better understand the disease itself. We work alongside clinicians and biologists. Having all the necessary expertise centralized within Institut Curie fosters many productive interactions. In fact, our group is very representative of the research-care continuum that is the soul of Institut Curie”

For a little over six years, Samar Alsafadi has shared this interdisciplinary philosophy. After obtaining a doctorate degree in Pharmacy from Damascus University, the Franco-Syrian chose to continue her studies in France. Samar Alsafadi began her career at Institut Gustave Roussy as a postdoctoral researcher investigating new breast cancer biomarkers and then joined Marc Henri Stern’s team focusing on uveal melanoma at Institut Curie.

For me, joining Institut Curie was the obvious choice: its reputation extends well beyond the borders of France and even Europe!

She has never regretted her choice, thanks to the stimulating, international atmosphere.

When I was younger, I travelled a lot, first with my parents and then for my studies. It really means a lot to me to find this ‘melting pot’ atmosphere at Institut Curie. We all come from different cultures with different stories, and this is one of our greatest strengths: not only does it create a pleasant place to work every day but it’s also important for our research as we look at things from different angles.