Mr. Savard is a full professor in the department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry, and Pathology of the Laval University School of Medicine. He teaches molecular genetics, critical analysis of publications, and is in charge of all the research internships in the Biomedical Science Program.
In terms of research, Professor Savard focuses on a TLR7/8 agonist (thereafter indicated by the acronym PAL) able to activate both the innate and adaptive responses of the immune system. Mid-term research objectives are (i) to develop a large-spectrum prophylactic vaccine to influenza viruses, and (ii) to improve the therapeutic antitumoral response induced by a new class of drugs able to release the obstacle that prevents cytotoxic T lymphocytes from attacking tumor cells.
PAL is a nanoparticle that is derived from recombinant DNA technology and mimics the physical properties of the papaya mosaic virus. The product is specifically captured by the cells of the immune system and, once within the endosome, it releases a RNA molecule that activates TLR7/8. This mechanism of action is of great interest for the pharmaceutical industry. PAL has demonstrated that it is well tolerated by humans during a Phase I clinical trial where its administration was combined with a flu vaccine. Other clinical trials are in preparation to assess the clinical benefits of PAL administration in cancer immunotherapy.
Mr. Savard is actively involved in the Québec scientific community. His main contributions are the development of the Human Resources Services and the Health and Safety Program of the Research Center (President of the Société de Gestion du Personnel du CRCHU de Québec and Co-President of the Comité Paritaire de Santé et Sécurité du travail au CRCHU de Québec – Laval University).
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- Manufacturing of antigens and adjuvants for development of vaccines (MAAV), from 2021-07-01 to 2023-03-31