Accelerating Medical Breakthroughs in Cancer

Speaker: Fabien Calvo

Prof. Fabien Calvo says that a progress in cancer genomics has been leaded by laboratories funded by governments. Several programmes in academic field included contribution from different countries resulted in genome sequencing. He reviews key achievements from international initiatives. These efforts permitted to describe most frequent genomic alterations in various cancer types. It allowed also to describe unknown mechanisms, genetic signatures in cancer, and opened a new research field.

He underlines the key challenges the not-for-profit research initiatives are facing, in particular how cancer genomics can feed the information where we still lack progress, namely in term of cancer prevention, early detection and the fact that we still don’t cure many patients. He underlines on need to aggregate the information from genetics, biology and clinics and work closely with mathematicians, bioinformaticians in term of transfering general ground of information into something that can be specific for a certain patient. We have a global view of cancer but it has to result into individual level in term of treating patients accordingly.

Prof. Fabien Calvo is a member of the ESMO Translational Research and Personalised Medicine Working Group. He is also a Chief Scientific Officer of the Cancer Core Europe where his role is to organise and coordinate medical research and scientific activities and assist the consortium in developing a global vision and planning and delivering the implementation of the strategy. Fabien Calvo is currently Professor of Pharmacology at University of Paris-Denis Diderot. From April 2007 to September 2014, Fabien Calvo was Deputy Director General of the National Cancer Institute of France, in charge of research and innovation programmes. He launched with the USA, Canada, UK and Germany, the International Cancer Genome Consortium for which he chairs the Scientific Planning Committee of ICGCmed.


  • Do you think not-for-profit initiatives and collaborations contribute a lot to genomic discoveries?
  • What are some of the key achievements you can think of in this area? (e.g. networks such as the International Genome Consortium, Cancer Core Europe)
  • What are some of the key challenges facing these not-for-profit networks?
  • Briefly, what is needed to make significant further progress in genomic cancer discoveries?