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Jean-Robert HARLÉ

Jean-Robert HARLÉ


Head of Internal Medicine Service, Timone Hospital | Professor of Internal Medicine at Aix-Marseille University


In my opinion, internal medicine is the most attractive medical speciality as our key mission is to help patients find a way out of the diagnostic impasse in which they find themselves: the majority of them often have rare diseases with few or poorly understood symptoms. Even if patient care makes up half of the service's activity, we do not however treat all patients ourselves and work in close collaboration with specialists for the diseases concerned, which once again, adds variety to our speciality.

The majority of diseases affecting our patients are the result of an immune system dysfunction. In order to confirm their diagnosis and refine their treatment, we routinely explore the multiple facets of their immune response. When these pathologies prove difficult to treat, we must ensure that patients benefit as quickly as possible from the latest advances of research in the field. Therefore, our service has been working closely with Eric Viver's team at the CIML for a number of years and together we have developed a laboratory specialising in the functional exploration of different lymphocytes populations. Together, we have been able to refine our understanding of some of the inflammatory pathologies we have been exposed such as IgG4-related disease, allowing us to improve diagnosis and explore new treatment options. The laboratory has also developed tests so that we are now able to routinely measure activity in rare lymphocytes, particularly during clinical trials.

As an illustration of the extent of our activity, formidable advances in biomedicine have definitively abolished the boundary between fundamental and clinical research. This is why, as a teacher, I strive to encourage our students to engage in both their internships and research activity. This is also the reason why we and our patients are resolutely committed to the Marseille Immunopôle; patients no longer wish to be simple "providers of biological samples", but full participants in the research process.