Institute of Cancer Research of Montpellier (IRCM)
Director: Claude SARDET
During the 2007-2017 period, Montpellier has witnessed a rapid growth of its cancer research community, in particular at the ICM Cancer Hospital Campus. Created in 2008 and localized on the ICM Campus, the Montpellier Cancer Research Institute (U1194) is at the core of this expansion and a key player in cross-cutting initiatives, such as SIRIC, that have boosted cancer research in Montpellier. IRCM offers a stimulating and interactive environment to perform cancer research in close connection with the ICM. It is still a young structure with an emergent project and a still ongoing high rate of new team recruitment. Hence, IRCM’s commitment is to undertake the highest quality fundamental and translational research to ultimately improve outcomes for cancer patients. IRCM is jointly operated by INSERM, the University of Montpellier and ICM. It functions as an integrated research facility with staff from INSERM, CNRS, Universities, ICM and CHU sharing technical facilities and platforms, support services and expertise. Within its 4,000 m2 building fully connected to the Cancer Hospital, IRCM currently hosts 17 Teams (12 Inserm Teams and 5 emerging IRCM Teams) and 213 people, including 48 permanent staff scientists (INSERM, CNRS, ICM), 12 University Professors or Associate Professors, 29 Medical Faculty Professors and Hospital Clinicians (PU-PH, MC
U-PH, PH, AHU of ICM and CHU clinicians), 64 technicians and support staff, 17 post-doctoral researchers and 44 PhD students.
Research objectives and scientific production / Valorisation and collaborations
IRCM teams develop ground breaking research within 2 main unifying scientific programmes: 1. “Therapeutic Antibodies to target Cancer: innovation, design and biological response”. 2. “Phenotypic, Genetic, Epigenetic and Signaling Plasticity of Solid Tumours and of their Microenvironment: From discoveries to personalized medicine”. Most of the 17 IRCM teams are actively participating in networks at local, regional, national and international levels, including 12 teams directly involved in the SIRIC2 project, 7 teams in the labEx MAbImprove and 4 in the labEx EpigenMed, 3 teams labelized by the French Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale or by the Ligue Contre le Cancer, and several that were or are part of EEC consortia (FP7, H2020). Clinicians and Scientists associated with IRCM are highly productive in fundamental, translational and clinical research. Hence, this last two years (2016-17) they collectively authored 225 publications with 71 as first or senior/corresponding author including several in high impact journals (PNAS, Molecular Cell, J Cell Biol, EMBO J, JCO, Clin Cancer Res, Oncogene, Plos Med, Plos Comput Biol, Scientific Reports, etc…). Since IRCM creation in 2008, IRCM members have also been highly involved in technology transfer and clinical research, leading to participations in numerous clinical trials, to be co-inventor in 44 patents (9 Licences), to sign 47 contracts with private companies and to create 5 biotech startups (SurgimAb, DiaDX, Imab, Nova-gray, OREGA). Altogether, this environment and the gathering within IRCM teams of highly motivated Clinicians and Scientists ensure continuous cross-fertilization between fundamental, translational and clinical cancer research on the Cancer Hospital Campus and thus, is at the core of the SIRIC2 initiative.
Facilities and platforms
Most IRCM standard technical facilities (Proteomics, Animal Imaging (micro-PET-CT, SPEC-CT, Lum, cytometry, animal house dedicated to cancer models, cellular screening, microscopy and histology) are part of Montpellier Biocampus network. Within the frame of SIRIC1, IRCM has also developed 3 new top notch innovative platforms for cancer research, unique in Montpellier: i/ to develop preclinical tumorgrafts models (PDTX and orthotopic xenografts), ii/ to generate genetically engineered monoclonal antibodies (GenAc, also supported by Inserm transfert), and iii/ to perform controlled irradiation of cells and preclinical models. In addition, IRCM building currently hosts the department of Medical Biometry of ICM, the Translational Research Unit (URT) of ICM, the Herault cancer registry, and three biotech startups dedicated to cancer and created by scientists from IRCM and ICM (DiaDX, Imab, OREGA, NovaGray).