The project of a vast campus dedicated to cancer research and care has been decided by the Président de la République Française after the catastrophic blast of the AZF chemical factory on the 21st of September 2001 in Toulouse (31 people killed, 2 500 injured, considerable damages).
The “Oncopole of Toulouse” now gathers academic, scientific, medical, clinical, technological and pharmaceutical research on cancer on a 220-hectare site next to the Toulouse airport, highways, hospitals and University. Its missions are to improve fundamental knowledge on all aspects of cancer biology and to provide patients with rapid access to innovative and individualized treatments. This project is strongly supported at the regional and national levels by the French Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, the Région Midi-Pyrénées and the City of Toulouse. Several actors compose this unique site in Europe:
- The Cancer Research Center of Toulouse (CRCT), a public research laboratory supported by Inserm, University Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier and CNRS
- The Institut Universitaire du Cancer de Toulouse-Oncopole (IUCT-O), a cancer care center directly connected to the CRCT, gathering several medical services from the University Hospital (CHU) of Toulouse and from the Institut Cladius Regaud (Centre de Lutte Contre le Cancer)
- The Institute of Advanced Technologies for life Sciences (ITAV), a public research laboratory supported by CNRS, INSA and University Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier
- The Etablissements Français du Sang (EFS), the national civil operator of blood transfusion in France
- Several labs from pharmaceutical and biotech companies (Pierre Fabre, Sanofi, Cyclopharma, start-ups...), etc...
On these premises, a primary CRCT project comprising 15 teams out of 30 candidates from public Toulouse research labs was launched in 2007. This project was assessed by our Scientific Advisory Board in 2008, and by AERES (National assessment agency) in 2009. A final CRCT project involving only 12 out of these 15 teams was then validated by the University Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier, the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research), and Inserm (National Institute for Health and Medical Research). The Cancer Research Center of Toulouse, affiliated as UMR1037 (Mixed unit) of Inserm and University Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier and as ERL5294 by CNRS was then created on 01/01/2011 for the 2011-2015 period.
From 2011 to 2014 however, CRCT was composed of research teams, services and facilities located in 5 distinct locations in the Toulouse area, each with different host institutions, which complexified its management and scientific animation. By sept 2014 the CRCT staff is moving in its own building and launches its scientific activities and development.
Nowadays, CRCT is composed of 18 research teams, 8 platform facilities (the Technology Center) and 13 support services, representing more than 300 staff dedicated to cancer research.