Press Release

Strasbourg, February 7th, 2021


Prof. Thomas Baumert, MD is a laureate of the prestigious ERC Proof of Concept Grant for the third time in five years. The ERC Proof of Concept CANDY program will focus on developing novel therapeutic approaches for cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and deadly cancer.

Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) arises from the biliary system of the liver and is one of the deadliest cancers. CCA is a major unmet medical need due to unsatisfactory treatment options and a global burden that is showing an alarming rise in incidence in the last decade.

Why is CCA so deadly? CCA is mostly diagnosed very late resulting in aggressive disease progression, poor treatment response, and dismal prognosis with a median survival of less than 2 years. While surgery is an option in part of the patients, it frequently comes back after surgery. Unfortunately, for most patients, diagnosis will occur when the disease is already advanced, and surgery is too late. Current standard-of-care for CCA is unsatisfactory with very limited efficacy and adverse effects. Recently approved second-line therapeutics slightly improve outcome but are only suited to a small subset of CCA patients. New therapeutic options to improve patient outcome are urgently needed.

In the ERC Proof of Concept Grant CANDY, Prof. Baumert and his team will explore novel therapeutics for the treatment of CCA. Over the next 18 months his team will determine their efficacy in state-of-the-art patient-derived models with the ultimate aim of clinical translation into patients.

Prof. Thomas Baumert is Professor of Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Strasbourg, head of the Institute for Viral and Liver Diseases (IVH), Inserm Unit UMR_S1110 and director of the Laboratory of Excellence HepSYS. Currently, he also serves as chief of the Gastroenterology-Hepatology Service of the Strasbourg University Hospitals.

Prof. Thomas Baumert explains « My team and I are very honored by this prestigious and highly competitive European award which highlights the impact and the innovative potential of our research jointly carried out at Inserm, University of Strasbourg and the Strasbourg University Hospitals. We are confident that our groundbreaking research will improve the outcome of patient’s lives for this dismal prognosis and deadly cancer ».

Link to ERC press release: here

Investigate novel therapeutics for hepatobiliary cancer using innovative patient-derived tissue models. Left panel: Illustration of biliary cancer in the gastrointestinal tract. Right panel: Liver tumor spheroids in a cell culture dish for exploratory treatment studies (Dr. E. Crouchet, Inserm) from a patient with surgical resection (Dr. E. Felli, Prof. Patrick Pessaux, Strasbourg University Hospitals). © University of Strasbourg / Inserm

Scientific Contact:
Prof. Thomas F. Baumert: +33 (0)3 68 85 37 03 /

Press Contacts:
University of Strasbourg: 
Alexandre Tatay / +33 (0) 6 80 52 01 82 /
Inserm: Emilie Denat-Turgis / +33 (0) 3 88 10 86 47 /
Strasbourg University Hospitals: Hélène Braeuner /+33 (0)3 88 11 64 12 /

Download the official press release: