The theme-based Multi-Organization Institute for Cancer (ITMO Cancer) aims to federate all research teams working on cancer diseases, regardless of their associated supervisory bodies. ITMO Cancer thus aims to submit concrete actions to improve the performance and competitiveness of French research, to ensure proper coordination between all bodies and institutions involved in cancer research, to lead consultation, and facilitate interdisciplinary exchanges in the cancer community.

ITMO Cancer experts reaffirm their commitment to:

  • supporting excellence in fundamental research;
  • promoting an integrated vision of cancer diseases through a multidisciplinary approach to the disease (integration of mathematics, physics, chemistry, social sciences and humanities, etc.), but also through a multi-scale approach (from cancer cell genome to patient populations);
  • generating reproducible and quality results and data


Experiences from the past 10 years… 

Conceptual revolutions have taken place in the past ten years, which have dramatically changed the field of oncology. In particular, the vast array of cancer-type diseases has emerged. The immune system has been shown to play a central role in controlling pre-cancerous cells, leading to the emergence of new areas of research. Tumoral heterogeneity, the clonal architecture of cancer cell populations, cellular plasticity, and the increasingly strong arguments on the existence of cancer-initiating stem cells have led to a different perception of tumors, no longer as monolithic, uniform cell groups, but as changing ecosystems, sensitive to the surrounding conditions and selection pressure. Stratification of cancer by "omic technologies" offers a new dimension, aiming to shed light on their complexity, propose and predict the validity of new therapeutic approaches, analyze and understand resistance, identify biomarkers for diagnosis, theranostics and disease progression. 

The ultimate Holy Grail is the in-depth characterization of the biological signature of each tumor, enabling reliable, optimized treatments to be envisaged. In terms of prevention, the detection and analysis of circulating cancer cells and circulating tumor DNA open up new extremely promising prospects to outstrip the emergence or resurgence of disease. The ongoing revolutions are already being applied on a therapeutic level with spectacular results, for certain types of cancer, owing to immunotherapy or targeted therapies, an understanding of the action mechanisms of the treatments, and the ability to predict their effects. 

While the overall findings are extremely positive, the extraordinary complexity of cancer diseases is merely determined more tangibly, hence the exploration of the multiple sources brought to light must be pursued.





… basis of future scientific priority trends:

Fundamental research

  • Continue to shed light on the mechanisms of cancer:
  • Understand dormancy, the mechanisms of resistance and residual disease
  • Describe the early phases of antitumoral response, the role of the microenvironment in the development of these responses, and in failure of/resistance to these responses
  • Develop insight into the protein and metabolic characteristics of cancer cells and their environment (role of the metabolism in tumor cell plasticity)
  • Model and integrate collected data, particularly on omic technologies, epigenetics, anatomical pathology, immunological data, imaging, pharmacology, behavior (nutrition, physical activities, risk factors, etc.)
  • Continue to identify risk factors: Environment- Nutrition- Genetics
  • Study cancer as an ecosystem sensitive to selection pressure
  • Use data from the French Plan for Genomic Medicine for research purposes

Translational research

  • Step up biomarker research
  • Describe and shed light on primary resistance phenomena
  • Develop, diversify, and refine preclinical models
  • Facilitate the drug design and development, expand chemical libraries and repositioning of molecules
  • Develop model for predicting clinical benefit
  • Develop sensitive, precise and reproducible technologies

Director: Christine Chomienne
Director: Alain Eychène
Assistant Director: Muriel Altabef

ITMO Cancer experts: Corinne ALBIGES-RIZO (CNRS, Grenoble), Sébastien BENZEKRY (INRIA, Bordeaux), David BERNARD (CNRS, Lille), Véronique BLANC (Servier, Paris), Irène BUVAT-GUILLEMET (CEA-CNRS, Orsay), Jacqueline CLAVEL (Inserm, Paris), Laurent DELVA (Inserm, Dijon), Alain EYCHENE (Inserm-Institut Curie, Orsay), Annick HAREL-BELLAN (CEA-CNRS, Paris), Daniel OLIVE (AP-Inserm, Marseille), Fabrice PIERRE (INRA, Toulouse), Nicole RASCLE (Inserm, Bordeaux), Claude SARDET (CNRS, Montpellier), Ariel SAVINA (Roche, Paris), Eric SOLARY (IGR, Villejuif), Sophie TARTARE-DECKERT (Inserm, Nice)

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