DHU Protect

DHU Protect

What is a DHU?

The DHUs (French Hospital-University Departments) were created jointly by the AP-HP, Parisian universities and research institutions in order to dynamize research and improve the quality of patient care by accelerating the development and distribution of healthcare innovations. Research consortia receive the DHU accreditation for a renewable 5 year period.

Robert-Debré Hospital obtained this accreditation in 2012 with the creation of DHU PROTECT (Promoting Research Oriented Towards Early CNS Therapies), coordinated by Prof. Pierre Gressens.

DHU Protect

LogoDHUThe research focus of DHU Protect is the developing brain and handicap in children: Mechanisms – Prevention – Therapies.

The aim of DHU Protect is to promote the development of therapeutic strategies for a large number of disorders of brain development, drawing on the multidisciplinary expertise of its partners (AP-HP, Pasteur Institute, Paris Diderot University, Inserm, CNRS), which stretches from fundamental research to patient care. To this end, Protect coordinates activities related to research and care in the field of neurodevelopmental disorders. Particular attention is paid to certain genetic disorders (microcephalies, leukodystrophies, certain metabolic diseases or endocrine disorders of growth or puberty etc.) as well as disorders of environmental or mixed origin (autism spectrum disorders, idiopathic mental retardation, some types of epilepsies, anomalies of brain development linked to premature birth etc.).

The strengths of DHU Protect lie in:

  • A strong concentration of different structures necessary for the evaluation and treatment of patients with brain lesions and neurodevelopmental disorders, ranging from the prenatal period to the end of adolescence, at Robert-Debré Hospital.
  • The integration of several mixed research units affiliated with the Inserm, CNRS, Paris Diderot University and Pasteur Institute that are engaged in fundamental and translational research in the field of development and the neurosciences.
  • Collaborations with other academic research organizations (the CEA, IPGG, PremUp Foundation, and several European or international laboratories and networks) as well as industrial partners.

Organisation DHU - EN

Research objectives

  • Protection of the immature brain during the perinatal period: role of perinatal inflammation in neonatal brain injury and its long-term effects, mechanisms of brain repair, the role of hormones, establishment of a translational research facility dedicated to neuroprotection etc.
  • Establish an integrated approach to neurodevelopmental disorders:
    • identification of new mechanisms (determinants of brain development, defecits in neuronal proliferation, the role of the synapse in autism spectrum disorders, the link between central hypogonadism and brain dysfunction etc.)
    • identification of new biomarkers of brain susceptibility to insults or predictive of patient prognosis or effectiveness of treatments: genetic, epigenetic, protein, structural (MRI), functional (EEG) etc.
    • establishment of relevant new animal or cellular models.
    • formulation of innovative therapeutic strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders.
  • Coordination and improvement of patient care and establishment of new clinical trials (for diagnosis/prognosis or treatment).

Medical teams

Robert-Debré Hospital

Medical Pediatrics Pole

  • Pediatric neurology department and first-epileptic-seizure clinic
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry department
  • Endocrinology and pediatric diabetology department
  • Pediatric intensive care unit
  • Emergency department and migraine clinic

Gynecology and Perinatality Pole

  • Neonatology department
  • Department of obstetrics and gynecology

Surgery and Anesthesia Pole

  • Anesthesia and resuscitation department
  • ENT and cervicofacial surgery department
  • Department of orthopedic surgery in children
  • Ophthalmology unit
  • Pain evaluation and treatment unit
  • Pediatric visceral surgery and urology department

Biology, Research and Health Products Pole

  • Biochemistry-hormonology department
  • Genetics department
  • Pediatric clinical epidemiology unit and clinical investigation center CIC-EC 1426
  • Clinical investigation center CIC 9202 and pediatric pharmacology unit
  • Developmental biology department
  • Pharmacy

Physiology and Pediatric Imaging Pole

  • Physiology/functional exploration pole and sleep center
  • Pediatric imaging center

Saint-Louis/Lariboisière/Fernand-Widal Hospital Group

  • University department of psychiatry and addictological medicine.

Research teams

  • UMR 1141 Promoting Research Oriented Towards Early CNS Therapies (Robert-Debré Hospital)
  • UMR 7216 Epigenetics and Cell Fate (Paris Diderot University)
  • URA 2182 Genes, Synapses and Cognition (Pasteur Institute)
  • UMR-S 1144 Variability of the Response to Psychotropic Drugs (Lariboisière Hospital)