A physician-scientitist originally from Heidelberg, Germany, Gudrun Schleiermacher studied medicine in Heidelberg, including a final year in the USA, and obtained her basic medical training as a pediatrician in Paris, France and Edinburgh, UK. She then returned to Institut Curie, Paris, to complete her training as a pediatric oncologist, including also additional training in intensive care. She became involved translational research early on in her training. In 2004, she obtained a PhD in Olivier Delattre's laboratory (INSERM U830, Genetics and Biology of Cancer, Institut Curie, Paris). Since 2004, she holds a position as a phycisian-scientist at Institut Curie, where she has been working both as a pediatrician and in the Laboratoire INSERM U830 (Director: Olivier Delattre) with activities strongly involving both clinical and translational research. Her clinical activities concern an active contribution to all clinical activities of SIREDO. She is strongly involved in national and international clinical research, in particular in the field of neuroblastoma.
In addition to a broad activity in patient care, she is actively involved in clinical trials at Institut Curie at a national and international level. She is also involved in personal and precision medicine approaches, as co-PI of the national Mappyacts trial (PI : Birgit Geoerger, I Gustave Roussy, France) which aims at performing whole exome sequencing and RNAseq on an on purpose biopsy obtained at relapse in order to identify predictive biomarkers and to orient towards targeted treatment approaches according to the molecular characteristics in high risk pediatric relapsed cancer. The ambitious national MICCHADO program (PI Gudrun Schleiermacher) now aims at a complete molecular and immunological characterization of high risk pediatric cancers at diagnosis, during treatment and follow-up.
She became team leader of the RTOP team (Recherche Translational en Oncologie Pédiatrique, Laboratoire « Gilles Thomas », a translational research team created withi the SIRIC (Integrated Cancer Research Center of Institut Curie) in 2012. Her main contributions to translational research concern the active contribution to the discovery and characterization of activating ALK mutations in neuroblastoma. Furthermore the discovery of the correlation between an overall genomic copy number profile and outcome has led to treatment stratification based on a genomic copy number in particular in low risk neuroblastoma patients as for instance in the current European LINES protocol. Her work has led to the identification of accumulation of new genetic events such as segmental chromosome alterations, or ALK mutations, at neuroblastoma relapse. Further studies focus on clonal evolution based on next generation sequencing techniques. Ongoing work aims at further study of molecular mechanisms involved in neuroblastoma progression, based also on more detailed biomarker studies using liquid biopsies and on single cell analysis of neuroblastoma.
She is particularly interested in the integration of circulating tumor DNA studies for the study of clonal evolution. Future aims are to integrate both prognostic and predictive biomarkers into integrative treatment approaches for high risk pediatric cancer patients, while working towards a better understanding of the underlying genetic and epigenetic modifications involved in the oncogenesis and tumor progression in pediatric cancer.