Institut Curie on the international stage: sharing know-how
The incidence of cancer is growing fast throughout the world, with over 18 million new cases each year and more than 9 million deaths
Prof. Thierry Philip, Chairman of the Executive Board of Institut Curie, reminds us in his opening speech at the 4th International Meeting on February 4
Institut Curie’s mission is not limited to France or Europe. Marie Curie committed to serving the world without seeking profit.
And this is still one of the aims of Institut Curie. Particular tribute is paid to this heritage this year as we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Fondation Curie, created in 1921 by the eminent physicist.
This year 2021 is also an opportunity to celebrate the special bond between Institut Curie and the United States. Many are unaware of this, but Marie Curie was able to pursue her work in radioactivity thanks to the generosity of American women
In May 2021, she traveled through the United States for 46 days. After her trip she received a gram of radium from President Harding, gifted by American women who had managed to raise $100,000
explains Marc Joliot, her great-grandson
. Without the assistance of the United States, Institut Curie would probably not have become this world-renowned center of excellence, and it would not have been able to defend the values that Marie Curie held dear. This bond of friendship is maintained today by the Institut Curie teams, in particular through a number of collaborations essentially in research.
Equipped with this know-how and this international reputation, Institut Curie offers its services to vulnerable countries in which access to care is difficult. “Our absolute priority is to meet patient’s unmet needs. This year over a thousand international patients requested our help. We assist most of them in their home country, we give them a second opinion and then we treat around one third of them here in Paris”, explained Prof. Philip.
And among these foreign patients, one of them - a Mr. Dorgham - decided to build a hospital in his home town north of Cairo, in Egypt, basing it on the Institut Curie model. Institut Curie is fully committed to this project. “My father was impressed by the quality of care that he received and he hopes that patients in Egypt can receive that same care. It’s a dream that we hope to achieve by the end of the year”, recounted Mr. Dorgham’s son.
The challenge for Institut Curie is to strengthen and improve access to care and quality of care in these struggling countries.
And to do that, one of the best ways to pass on our know-how is to train our colleagues in their home country or welcome physicians and health professionals to Institut Curie
pointed out Dr. Pierre Anhoury, Director of international relations at Institut Curie.
It’s within this spirit that Institut Curie decided to step up its support offered to several teams in Lebanon undergoing political, social and economic crisis amplified by the explosion in the port of Beirut last August. . “Institut Curie will finance and host 6 young physicians from different specialties for one year”, states Prof. Peter Noun, head of the Pediatric Oncology department at the St. Georges hospital devastated by the explosion, just as 5 other centers are doing. “A close collaboration between my center and Institut Curie will also be put in place once my hospital has been rebuilt.”
In parallel, Institut Curie and the ESA Business School in Beirut - the training center for Institut Curie in the Middle East - launched a major study to identify the needs of oncology centers and improve medical practices. This project is in line with the historic partnership between France and Lebanon.
This project is all the more important to me since we need to both consolidate our bases and start to think about the country’s recovery and its future”,
states Anne Grillo, France’s ambassador to Lebanon.
Institut Curie is also very involved in Africa, particularly in Tanzania, with a project running until 2024 known as the Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP). Alongside the Aga Khan Foundation and the AFD (French development agency) which is financing the project to the tune of 10 million euros, Institut Curie will provide its expertise to help improve the organization and quality of care throughout the country, including in rural areas. Alongside the Aga Khan Foundation and the AFD (French development agency) which is financing the project to the tune of 10 million euros, Institut Curie will Curie provide its expertise to help improve the organization and quality of care throughout the country, including in rural areas
"Over 1.7 million people should benefit from this program" indicates Stéphanie Mouen, director of the AFD in Tanzania.
We hope that it will help increase the number of patients diagnosed at an early stage and will help support around a hundred dispensaries.
Lastly, Institut Curie is involved in humanitarian projects. Recently, an agreement was signed with the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR) to develop a training program for palliative care and pain management in Senegal. Institut Curie has also been part of a program to support early diagnosis, access to treatment, and rehabilitation of children suffering from retinoblastoma since 2011 (cancer of the eye).
Launched in Mali, this program has helped demonstrate that recovery can be achieved in more than 80% of children, compared with 20% previously
enthused Prof. Pierre Bey, chairman of the AMCC (International network for cancer treatment and research).
Bolstered by this success, the project has been extended to 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: By 2028, around 1,000 children may have been treated.