Institut Curie has historic expertise in treatment and research on breast cancer. It represents 60% of the activity of the hospital, which was ranked France’s leading hospital for breast cancer (according to Le Point magazine’s 2016 ranking). Several research teams are working on breast cancer. This program will involve experts at the three Institut Curie sites.
The Institut has always pursued innovation in this area so as to serve patients, through its efforts to monitor women at high risk as well as screening efforts, conservative treatments, psychological support, establishment of patient care frameworks, and post-cancer support.
The epidemiological and social impact of breast cancer is considerable, and it still merits all our attention. Prof. Martine Piccart has been tasked with developing this project. A Belgian professor and oncologist, she is renowned worldwide for her contributions to breast cancer research.
In close collaboration with cancer specialists, physicians and researchers, her goal is to focus efforts on viable areas.
Institut Curie is committed to all forms of cancer, but part of its efforts will focus on the most aggressive forms of breast cancer known to date: triple negative (TN) and HER2 breast cancers.
The various families of breast cancer
The most frequent cancers affecting women can be divided into three sub-groups:
- Luminal cancers, which are sensitive to hormone therapy and often have good outcomes,
- HER2 tumors,which are sensitive to herceptin
- TN tumors. Triple-negative breast cancers represent 10 to 20% of breast cancers and are characterized by a lack of hormone receptors and HER2 overexpression. They are a priority, since there is currently no effective targeted treatment for women suffering from this form of cancer. Targeted therapies exist for HER2-positive breast cancer, namely Herceptin. Such therapies have changed the prognosis outlook. However, resistance often arises, hence the need to pursue research for new avenues of treatment for these cancers.