Our laboratory has adopted ‘the small molecule approach’ to biology. We study cell biology at the molecular and atomic levels using an integrated approach combining synthetic organic chemistry and molecular biology techniques. We custom design our probes to interrogate cell processes relevant to human diseases. For example, we have established protocols based on click chemistry to fluorescently label small molecules in cells with the view to shed light on their mechanisms of action. This, combined with multi-omics has revealed previously uncharted molecular features in cells that promote the disease-state, while offering opportunities for small molecule intervention. For instance, we have discovered a novel mechanism of metal uptake involving the plasma membrane glycoprotein CD44 and its ligands hyaluronates. We have identified an iron-dependency of the mesenchymal state of cancer cells, which confer a vulnerability of this cell state to ferroptosis. More recently, we have uncovered a previously uncharted role of mitochondrial copper in the regulation of immune cell activation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition of cancer cells. We found that targeting these metals in the disease-state with in-house small molecules confers therapeutic benefits in vivo. Thus, our laboratory exploits universal principles of physical chemistry and knowledge of biology to impact human medicine.

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  • TEMTIA 2022
    TEMTIA conference: understanding and targeting EMT to fight metastases
    For its 10th edition, the TEMTIA conference is coming to France for the very first time, taking place at Institut Curie from November 7 to 10. For the event, the two co-chairs of TEMTIA, Prof. Alain Puisieux, Director of the Institut Curie Research Center and Pierre Savagner, Inserm researcher at Gustave Roussy, take a closer look at the challenges surrounding molecular and cellular aspects of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) at the root of metastatic cancer progression.
  • Actualité Raphaël Rodriguez - cancer pancréas
    A new type of drug that kills therapy-resistant pancreatic cancer cells
    Inactive when administered, “prodrugs” become bioactive following a chemical reaction inside a cell or the organism. The “Chemical Biology” team at Institut Curie, headed by Raphaël Rodriguez, just revealed the efficacy of prodrugs on pancreatic cancer cells with metastatic potential, resistant to conventional treatment.
  • manip 2
    Exploiting iron chemistry to beat cancer
    The work carried out at Institut Curie by Raphaël Rodriguez’ “Chemical Biology of Cancer” team revealed a new gateway to induce the death of cells with metastatic potential in connection with iron metabolism. Together with Marcus Conrad (Germany), the ferroptosis pioneer, and Stuart Schreiber (United States), father of modern chemical biology, they conceptualize new therapeutic approaches in an article that has just been published in the journal Molecular Cell.
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