Grenoble Institute of Research on Cancer (GIRC)

GIRC is a federative research structure on cancer created in January 2011. Its partners are the Albert Bonniot Institute (IAB), the Grenoble Institute of Neurosciences (GIN), the Institute of Life Sciences Research and Technologies (iRTSV), the TIMC-IMAG laboratory, the Department of Molecular Chemistry (DCM), the Institute of Structural Biology (IBS) and the Research Unit of the University Hospital.

GIRC's strength comes from its strategic location within the cluster of Grenoble as well as the collaboration between its various partners. GIRC benefits from interaction between Life Sciences interfaces and digital sciences on the one hand, and access to large-scale facilities (ESRF, EMBL) and biotechnological platforms on the other hand.


Cancer research is one of the strongest lines of biomedical research at the University of Grenoble 1. The site of Grenoble offers some specificities for cancer research: it is particularly noticeable that it covers the whole continuum of research from studies at the molecular structure level (conducted at the Institute of Structural Biology using the locally implanted European Synchrotron Facility) up to the clinical trials carried out at the University Hospital (CHRG). In between, basic research on several aspects of the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and pre-clinical studies are run in three institutes (IAB, iRTSV, GIN).

Technological platforms (proteomics, microscopy, high-throughput screening, in vivo imaging) run at IAB, iRTSV, GIN, DCM and IBS are both useful tools for the community and a source of technological improvements. One specificity of the Grenoble campus is the presence of top-level research infrastructures in nanotechnology and it benefits to cancer researchers who actively collaborate with nano-electronicians to develop nanomedical devices or nanobiological applications to cancer diagnostis and treatment.

The overall scientific level of cancer research teams is good, and excellent for some of them with an international recognition of several researchers. IAB for instance is well identified at the national level as a cancer and development institute but the international recognition of the institute has to be ameliorated. International visibility is not a driving objective per se but it is a critical point to improve the scientific level by attracting junior and senior searchers and coordinating international programs to foster the fight against cancer. Owing to the creation of the Regional Canceropole (CLARA), IAB and different research units or structures (GIN, iRTSV) have developed very fruitful collaborations and networks between them and with the nearby cancer research structures of Lyon.

The site of Grenoble offers many strong assets already exploited by the different partners in multidisciplinary projects. To improve the competitiveness of these collaborations we offer to formalize and develop this potential by the creation of a light administrative structure (Federative Research Structure) called GIRC: Grenoble Institute of Research on Cancer.