Actualité - Radiotherapy

Experimental radiobiology building: a new venue for ambitious research


At the Orsay site of the Institut Curie Research Center, in the heart of the university campus, a new building now houses the research teams. New avenues for research and innovation in radiotherapy for cancer patients.


Institut Curie

Following an intense period of work with staff at the Orsay campus in Paris-Saclay university, site acceptance tests and regulatory inspections, the research teams are setting up “concretely opening up new avenues”, explains the Chairman of the Executive Board of Institut Curie, Prof. Thierry Philip at the inauguration of the experimental radiobiology building and the Nelly-Riguet amphitheater (see opposite) this 5th September 2019.

Curie Model in the Experimental Radiobiology Building

This extraordinary project started in 2015. The experiment radiobiology building completes the Orsay site of the Institut Curie Research Center. It adjoins the institute’s hospital proton therapy center, where proton therapy and more recently, cancer radiotherapy sessions are administered. Inherited directly from the founders of Institut Curie, the physicist Marie Curie and the doctor Claudius Regaud, “this building will contribute towards strengthening our ties with biologists, physicists and radio therapists at the institute, in a constantly active environment”, explained Marie Dutreix, joint-director of the Radiobiology and Innovation in Radiotherapy Medical Scientific Program (MSP), CNRS Research Director and team leader at the Institut Curie Research Center. ”We progress by means of common projects”.

The goal of the installation is to conduct radiobiology experiments, using groups of teams and devices in the same place, with high technical and medical performances and close to the three sites offering proton radiation in France. Several arms of Institut Curie will be involved in the coming days:

  • the experimental radiotherapy platform (RadexP),
  • part of the pre-clinical Investigation Laboratory (LIP),
  • and soon a branch of the Institut Curie’s new imaging platform.

With 1,300 m² spread over three floors and a technical level, the Experimental Radiobiology Building was designed and built with the group GCC-ER2i-Jonery. More than thirty staff at Institut Curie were involved in project groups and a steering committee in collaboration with the MC21 real estate project.

1st Center for radiotherapy and proton therapy

”We can be proud of the new research opportunities this building offers”, continues Prof. Philip Poortmans, joint director of the Radiobiology and Innovation in Radiotherapy MSP, head of the Oncological Radiotherapy Department and professor of the Marie-Curie PSL Institut Curie Chair. For this Institut Curie, this is of considerable importance for the future. Funded through public generosity and with the commitment of the MC21 campaign committee chaired by Frédéric Donnedieu de Vabres, this 5-million Euro investment, at the heart of the MC21 institutional project, should lead to new approaches being developed. The Institut is a cradle for radiotherapy, and the 1st center for radiotherapy and proton therapy in France. The new building should help achieve the goals set by the MSP: accelerate the transfer of innovation to the clinical domain, such as the deployment of Flash radiotherapy, develop new drugs of treatment combinations to make tumors sensitive to radiotherapy and develop new methods of radiation to increase accuracy. Continuing to invest in the Orsay Campus more than 50 years after Irène Curie and her husband Frédéric Joliot spoke of the shared interest of “continuing the adventure on the scientific and university terrain that is Paris-Saclay” recalled Thierry Philip, speaking to the President of the University, Dean Sylvie Retailleau.

The Institut’s Three Missions: Research, Treatment and Teaching

The list of projects and programs is too long to mention here, but one recent success can be highlighted. At the Orsay site, Theradnet, with the participation of Marie Dutreix, with Charles Fouillade and Pierre-Marie Girard from his team, alongside Célio Pouponnot, joint head of the Signaling and Tumor Progression Team. The European Commission selected this project devoted to PhD training on the topic of therapeutic radiation, and coordinated by Zurich University (Switzerland). As regards research, the radiobiologist Marie Dutreix coordonnates the Institut de Recherche Stratégique, making Paris-Saclay chimists, physicists , biologists et physicians working together on radiotherapic innovation. And soon, a new Siric team should be arriving with projects that will make full use of the resources in the building and at the proton therapy center.

Project's calendar

  • 11 March 2015: project document for an experimental radiotherapy platform MC21-RadeXP
  • 10 May 2016: completion of detailed technical program
  • 28 July 2017: building permit granted
  • December 2017: demolition of building 101B adjoining the Proton Therapy Center
  • 15 mars 2018: ceremonial laying of the first stone of the building
  • 5 September 2019: Inaugurations of the experimental radiobiology building and the Nelly-Riguet amphitheater