Strategic Plan 2030
3 questions put to Professor Fabrice Barlesi, Director General of Gustave Roussy
True to its pioneering past, building on a century-old multidisciplinary approach and success within a fertile knowledge base, Europe's leading anti-cancer centre is proudly launching its new strategic plan looking ahead to 2030 and joining forces to offer cancer patients a future. This is a 3.0 strategy reconciling science and humanity in a bid to increase the chances of finding a cure for cancer.
A meeting with Professor Fabrice Barlesi, Gustave Roussy’s new Director General, who outlined the decisive changes that will take place over the next decade.
Intercepting cancer in 2030, science fiction or reality?
Faced with the vast challenges posed by scientific advances and the need to help cancer patients, we are endeavouring to transform the scientific, medical, technological and societal approach to oncology. Our new strategic plan, which looks ahead to 2030, is extremely ambitious and will direct our actions over the next few years to change the way in which cancer is addressed. It is based on three approaches, the first of which is to prevent and treat differently in a bid to challenge the prognosis and offer each patient a future.
As a public health stakeholder, we will strive to develop new expertise by intervening at all stages of the disease, including the earliest stages in the field of prevention and to intercept cancer prior to onset or before it becomes difficult to treat. Today, this is already a reality at Gustave Roussy thanks to the Interception programme launched in 2021 as a pilot clinic for individualised cancer prevention. In addition, we will also draw on our experience with the "one-day diagnoses" introduced by Gustave Roussy back in 2004 (breast and thyroid cancer, then lung cancer in one week) to operate a rapid, smart diagnostic centre on our site.
Following the decade of genotyping and targeted therapies in 2000 and the decade of immuno-oncology in 2010, we are now entering the era of drug combination therapies and ultra-individualisation by offering our patients customised treatment pathways, from before cancer to after cancer. Our challenges are to screen based on personal risk, diagnose even earlier and faster, offer individualised treatments to increase the chances of recovery, anticipate relapses or treatment toxicity by identifying patients at increased risk of recurrence and sequelae from the onset of treatment, and to personalise the support offered to each patient in a bid to improve quality of life after cancer using digital technology and artificial intelligence in particular.
What will you do about the cancers that are not curable today?
We need to harness and focus on the best that science has to offer in order to drive rapid impact 3.0 research. This is the second approach in our strategic plan, namely collaborative research that is increasingly interdisciplinary, more technological and geared towards rapid solutions that directly benefit patients and are useful to society as a whole.
We are now moving on to anticipation-oriented research, for example, to prevent the disease and control it more effectively. The Prism programme, for instance, which unites Gustave Roussy teams with other partners, is already working on developing future solutions.
The aim is that, in five years' time, it will be possible to create a biological and also digital avatar for each patient, i.e. a virtual cancer that will identify the molecular, cellular, immunological and genetic mechanisms that promote cancer progression in order to offer individualised treatments from diagnosis onwards.
This is also the vocation of the Paris-Saclay Cancer Cluster, co-founded by Gustave Roussy, which closely connects the key stakeholders in oncology innovation. It will serve as a real catalyst for promoting projects and pooling talent. The aim is to encourage the development of French oncology ‘unicorns’ (French start-ups) giving patients rapid access to advances in research and promoting independent health. The aim is to give patients a rapid diagnosis, including modelling of their disease markers and an individual treatment plan, over the next ten years.
The creation of large cohorts to profile each patient and generate more knowledge, and the use of AI to process these data in ultra-fine detail are also key to this approach. We are expanding our partnerships in various scientific fields, and with the University of Paris-Saclay in particular. We are convinced that the cross-fertilisation of complementary intelligence in fields such as mathematics, physics and the humanities and social sciences will provide answers to crucial, hitherto unresolved oncology issues.
"Looking ahead to 2030, our aim is to provide unique treatment for each patient by combining science and technology."
What will Gustave Roussy look like in 2030?
The third major focus of our strategic plan is to make Gustave Roussy a smart hospital and the HQ of European cancer research. We will transform our site into a 3.0 hospital in an ultra-efficient ecosystem that meets both organisational and structural challenges around new, more connected patient pathways that are better adapted to the needs of society. This new, more digitalised structure will also enable caregivers to rediscover the meaning of their profession by spending more quality time with patients and refocusing on tasks that mobilise their humanity, which is at the very heart of their vocation.
Because we are convinced that well-cared for patients recover faster and better, the smart hospital will give patients a personal welcome. This will allow us to create the new 3.0 outpatient unit. By digitalising part of the care package, patients will be able to record their vital signs at home, document symptoms or side effects, and choose their treatment slot in order to minimise the impact of the illness on their personal and professional life. Care units will be renovated and revamped alongside our recently completed interventional oncology and pharmacy platforms. The creation of additional hospitalisation units, the opening up of the current site with the imminent arrival of underground rail lines 14 and 15 coupled with large-scale real estate projects including the construction of buildings have already been launched or are in the process of being launched. These developments will facilitate the creation of a Gustave Roussy-based European cancer campus facilitating high-level research and optimum innovative care.
Last but not least, the forging of partnerships, alliances and joint ventures will disseminate our new models across the country and worldwide.
Major investments to the tune of several hundred million euros are required to implement this plan. We are already guaranteed support from the State, investment funds, patrons and loyal donors. We hope that they will be joined by new civil society stakeholders keen to help us cure cancer. For 100 years, Gustave Roussy has continued to build on the visionary legacy of its founder to consolidate its role as the leading European institution in the fight against cancer. Today, we are at a turning point in our history, pursuing our ultimate ambition, namely to cure adult and childhood cancers in the 21st century.