From therapeutic target… to clinical validation

The model of Marie Curie

  • Marie Curie, founder of Institut Curie, was attached to the continuum between fundamental research, clinical research and patient care. Curie-Cancer carries these dynamics and puts together leading teams from cognitive to translational and clinical research.
  • Curie-Cancer is offering to industrial partners, tailor-made collaborative research projects, based on the internal expertise of its teams as well as advanced technical platforms.
  • Curie-Cancer is led by professionals with extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry and/or biotechnology sector, thus setting-up efficient collaborations with its industrial partners.

Current research interests

The Research Center at Institut Carnot Curie cancer makes every effort to advance the understanding of the mechanisms that cause cancer, blazing trails to improve diagnostics and develop innovative therapies. It brings together researchers directing basic or translational research programs with the objective of transposing discoveries as quickly as possible so as to improve diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools.

Cell Biology and Developmental Biology

Several research teams are working exclusively on cell-related issues (movement and shape, adhesion, signaling pathways, protein transport to the various cell compartments, cell cycles, etc).


The alterations that cause cancer often affect proteins involved in the transmission of cellular signals, such as interferons and cytokines. Better understanding of these proteins should enable immune defenses to be boosted, so as to stop tumor growth. The study of host-tumor relations could lead to the development of new treatment strategies based on a more effective response of the immune system.

Human Genetics and Oncogenesis

The basic goal of Institut Carnot Curie cancer oncologists is to identify genomic alterations in human cancers. Using highly sophisticated tools, they are engaged in detecting major and minor genomic modifications in tumor cells and in identifying the genes that carry such alterations.

Epigenetics and Genotoxicology

The Institut Carnot Curie cancer has a long history of work on genotoxicology, the study of interactions between DNA and various genotoxic agents (ionizing radiation, solar radiation, etc.), as well the DNA lesions caused by these agents. The research aims are to identify and understand cell mechanisms that detect and then repair such lesions in order to restore genome integrity.


Research in pharmaceutical chemistry is designed to synthesize anticancer drugs that act specifically on cancer cells without killing healthy cells. This work uses two basic tools—molecular modeling, which is used to design tailor-made drugs, and combinatorial chemistry.

Physical Chemistry of Living Systems

Institut Carnot Curie cancer physicists are studying organized molecular assemblies that have led to the development of what is known as soft matter. These structures are involved in the major functions of living organisms, such as cellular mobility and adhesion, and intracellular trafficking. One of the main goals is to control the migration of cells, which form distant metastases.

Molecular Mechanisms and Oncogenesis

In multicellular organisms, harmonious development and functioning depend upon the quality of the communication established between cells and the environment which sends them signals. The study of cell signaling is essential to our understanding of the pathways activated during oncogenesis.

Cellular and Molecular Imaging

Researchers at the Institut Carnot Curie cancer use powerful imaging techniques to elucidate the structural basis of the cellular processes involved in normal and pathological cell proliferation. They make use of  the Institut Curie’s high-technology platforms, notably for scientific imaging.

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology

Institut Carnot Curie cancer mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists use their skills and know-how to make available state-of-the-art technologies for the analysis of genetic networks responsible for the development of cancer, and also methodological tools to process and interpret the data. The automation of biological techniques generates vast amounts of data which, to be used effectively, have to be modeled, analyzed, compared, and stored.

Radiobiology, Radiotherapy, Microfluidics, Clinical Trials & Medicinal chemistry


Technological platforms at Institut Carnot Curie Cancer

  • Bank of tumor tissus
  • Xenografts in nude mice
  • Transgenic mice, zebra-fish, …
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • High-throughput phenotypic screening
  • Cyclotron to produce radioisotope with ultra-short half-life
  • Imaging, bioinformatics, omics



Partners in basic research

The collaborations extend well beyond France to meet global challenges and to be competitive in some highly dynamic areas of research.
Institut Curie researchers collaborate in large-scale European programs and maintain favored links with universities worldwide.

Industrial Partnerships

In parallel to its fundamental research activity, the Institut Curie conducts applied research together with industrial partners. Common know-how and skills are shared in order to develop new products and services that can benefit to patients.
Several partnerships are ongoing with the industry, see examples in our Portfolio.
These programs leverage both our clinical and our non-clinical expertise to set-up collaborative research with our partners, ranging from fundamental, to clinical, translational and applied research in various domains.

The Institut Curie is sharing its expertises and its technological platforms (see Core Facilities) via the consortium GLOBAL CARE Initiative.

Many partnerships are ongoing with Roche, Sanofi, Vygon, GenoSplice, Biolog-Id, Servier, Harmonic Pharma, ...

Examples of collaborative projects with industrial partners

  • Identification and validation of therapeutic targets
  • Evaluation of drug efficiency and antitumor activity on human xenografted mice
  • Identification of biomarkers
    • Identification of the mechanism of actions of drug in development
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Design of monoclonal antibodies against therapeutic targets
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Clinical studies in phase I, II or III in many cancer indications
  • ...


See our Portfolio

GLOBAL CARE is an outstanding consortium of 5 French expertises :