Intro text: 

Last Thursday 5 April 2018 Dr Martine Piccart, Co-founder and Chair of the Breast International Group (BIG) and Director of Research at the Jules Bordet Institute, received the Fondation ARC Léopold Griffuel Award for Translational and Clinical Research, one of the most prestigious European prizes for cancer research.

In a video produced by Fondation ARC, Dr Martine Piccart says: “It is of course a very pleasant surprise to be granted such a prestigious award”. And she stresses that the prize is wonderful recognition for the dedication and work of her teams at BIG and at the Jules Bordet Institute.

Credits video: Fondation ARC, Bigbang production and Pierre Schumacher

Fondation ARC: supporting faster progress in breast cancer research
Created in 1962 Fondation ARC is the only French foundation dedicated solely to breast cancer. It supports research projects in France and at the international level to encourage faster progress against the disease, with the express objective to “cure two patients out of three by 2025”.

Fondation ARC’s goal echoes the mission and vision of the Breast International Group, which is to facilitate global collaboration, accelerate the development of better treatments, and ultimately develop cures for breast cancer.

Dr Martine Piccart, an international leader in the field of breast cancer
In the video, Dr Piccart’s collaborators refer to her as an inspiration, a tough and charismatic leader who is able to keep people motivated even in difficult times.

About her deep commitment and unfailing motivation, Dr Piccart explains: “As I was about to start the specialisation in oncology, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a trauma, but also a very powerful incentive to dedicate my clinical and research career to breast cancer.”

“Breast cancer is a common disease that affects one woman out of eight” she adds. And I quickly realised that research was highly fragmented in Europe, with few collaborations, and that we needed to make progress more rapidly.”

A strong advocate for and pioneer of international research collaborations, Dr Martine Piccart co-founded BIG about 20 years ago to facilitate breast cancer research at international level.

Global collaboration is crucial to make significant advances in breast cancer research, reduce unnecessary duplication of effort, share data and expertise and, therefore, increase the likelihood of cures for patients.

The BIG network now unites 59 academic breast cancer research groups from around the world, and has run 50 clinical trials under its umbrella, several of which are considered landmark studies and practice-changing.

Among them is the HERA trial that contributed to the approval of trastuzumab, and has already benefitted thousands of women affected by HER2-positive breast cancer. 

Together, BIG’s academic groups endeavour to ensure that patients’ interests remain at the heart of breast cancer research, by asking the most relevant scientific questions and designing clinical trials that best serve all women – and men – affected by the disease.

To conclude the video, Dr Piccart expresses her deep gratitude to the many donors and supporters of cancer research, who make it all possible. “Foundations like Fondation ARC, that strive to cover the lack of funding, play an extremely significant role”.

Watch Fondation ARC’s video presenting Dr Piccart

Dr Piccart’s biography