Specialist Care Center


Specialist Care Center

ICO - Institute of Cancer Research in Western France

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICO) was created as a result of the merger of the René Gauducheau Centre for Cancer Care in Nantes/Saint-Nazaire and the  Paul Papin Centre in Angers.

It is one of the 18 French Comprehensive Cancer Centres (FCCC) officially created in 1945 in 20 different cities.

The ICO is an academic teaching hospital.

The hospital is equiped with 161 beds for inpatients, 78 beds for outpatients, 6 beds and 2 chairs dedicated to the Therapeutic Innovation Development Unit.


Welcome to the ICO

The ICO is fully integrated specialist cancer treatment centre in the Pays de la Loire region and has rapidly become a pivotal player in the health sector with its forward-looking and proactive approach towards innovation and research.

Patients are at the centre of the ICO's development strategy, the sole aim of which is to go further faster in the fight against cancer.

The ICO is a private non-profit hospital specialising in cancer treatment.

The status of the ICO is defined in the Order of 2 May 2005 in application of the French Public Health Code (modelled on the 1945 provisions which have since been repealed).

The ICO is a member of UNICANCER, a healthcare consortium which unites the 18 French Comprehensive Cancer Centres (FCCC). All share the same healthcare model built around multidisciplinary practice, individualised treatment and a research-healthcare continuum to serve users and patients to the best
of our ability.

Today, the ICO is one of only three FCC to be certified by ESMO for all the care of patients and the ability to provide treament in medical oncology, supportive care and palliative care.





The ICO has 4 key missions : prevention, care, teaching and research

With two local facilities, the ICO distinguishes itself as a regional and national centre of excellence. Its size and pooling approach (teams and resources) have enabled it to expand its activities in prevention, care, teaching and research and to reinforce its position as a leading national cancer centre in the field of oncology.

The ICO ranks :

  • 3rd national FCCC in terms of their active list of patients, just behind Institut Curie and the Gustave Roussy cancer centre,
  • 1st regional centre in terms of active list of patients
  • 1st in radiotherapy,
  • 1st for oncogenetics consultations,
  • 1st in breast reconstruction,
  • 2nd for the number of breast cancer patients,
  • 3rd for the number of patients involved in clinical trials,
  • 5th for the number of medical and scientific journals.

The ICO has implemented a single governance model to run both cancer centres and provides an optimal care-research-teaching continuum with the aim of improving users and patients' quality of life. The ICO ensures that all costs are based on the French National Health tariffs with no extra fees and no private consultations.


Partners in excellence

The ICO is well-known for its culture of excellence in cancer care services. As regards research, teaching and promotion, the ICO works with a large number of partners who have built a reputation in health education, whether private or public, at regional, national and international levels, foremost among them the Nantes and Angers University Hospitals (CHU).

A global overview of the disease and of the care given to patient

As a specialist care centre, the ICO boasts a multidisciplinary organization with teams which are renowned in their sector and state-of-the-art technological platforms. It applies a global approach from scientific research to therapeutic innovation. ICO's highly extensive resources help foster prevention, provide accurate diagnosis and plan treatment for patients with an integrated and individual approach that guarantees quality and respect at all stages.

Academic partnerships

  • French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM)
  • Angers University - Nantes University
  • Research partnerships
  • The French League against Cancer (Association)
  • Pharmaceutical industry

Institutional partnerships

  •  PRES UNAM (Nantes-Angers-Le Mans research and academic centre)
  • IRéCAN (Regional Cancer Care Institute in Angers and Nantes) consisting of Angers CHU, Nantes CHU and the ICO
  • Nantes Research Centre for Human Nutrition (CRNH)
  • Scientific Interest Groups: the ICO and ONIRIS, Nantes College of veterinary medicine, food science and engineering.
  • Public Interest Group for the Cyclotron ARRONAX, a particle accelerator for research in nuclear health technologies, based in Saint-Herblain (44).
  • HUGO, Group of Regional Teaching Hospitals in Western France: Nantes, Angers, Brest, Poitiers, Rennes, Tours and Orléans
  • NEMO GCS (a healthcare consortium), partnership between the ICO and the Vedici Group
  • A large number of conventions signed with health, post-acute and rehabilitation centres.

International partnership

  •  Cooperation agreement between The Gansu Cancer Care Centre (China) and the ICO



The men and women at the ICO work in around a hundred medical disciplines that are united in a single structure with the aim of overcoming cancer. At the ICO, cross-disciplinary teams include practitioners, biologists, pharmacists and biophysicists, and hundreds of healthcare workers and researchers, technicians and administrative staff. They work as a unified team and are actively involved in giving patients the best quality care, delivered with unerring focus for optimal safety and comfort.



The ICO is equipped with cutting-edge medical platforms :

State-of-the art imaging

  • digital mammography machines, digital X-ray rooms and remotecontrolled systems
  • Mammotome system and echography
  • PET - CT scans and MRI scans
  • mobile X-ray PACS (Picture Archive and Communication System)with viewing functionalities

Nuclear medicine

  • gamma camera imaging,
  • positron emission tomography (PET),
  • radiation bunkers

Operating theatres

  • 8 operating rooms,
  • 9 intensive care beds
  • 1 surgical robot,
  • rooms dedicated to the implatation of implantable ports

State-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment

  • 11 linear accelerators for intra and extra-cranial stereotactic radiotherapy,
  • 1 IGRT (Image Guided Radiotherapy),
  • 1 IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy).
  • 2 multislice devices,
  • 1 Tomotherapy unit,
  • 1 intraoperative mobile accelerator,
  • Pulsed low dose rate or continuous and high dose rate curietherapy

Pharmacy with 2 units for reconstitution of cytostatics

Supportive care facility

Research facility



Once you get beyond the ICO's mains doors, you will experience cutting-edge technologies as well as personalised medical care and you may be asked to take part in clinical trials.

Our healthcare concept is built around the ICO's fundamental values, focusing on :

  • the attention given to patients
  • care being accessible to all
  • the quality of the hospitality
  • wellbeing
  • confidentiality

The ICO's doctors can assist you with a second medical opinion.

Healthcare : outpatient or conventional surgery, medicine, radiotherapy

The healthcare system offered by the ICO is organised into departments that provide expertise to patients. Each department handles the general aspects of medical care and support, from the patient being diagnosed to setting up a therapeutic program, conducting surgery, proposing drug treatment or radiotherapy.

Supportive care

Treating a cancer patient is not limited to setting up a therapeutic program. The assistance provided needs to be global and multidisciplinary. Supportive care includes pain management, treatment of seating issues, potential social and psychological issues, physiotherapy, cosmetic treatment and palliative care. The ICO's teams develop early and innovative support methods to ensure that patients are given the best possible care.


Clinical Research

In 2013, 1,293 patients took part in clinical trials conducted by the ICO's research teams. They included 241 studies open to inclusions and new drug trials.
At the ICO, clinical research plays a key role. It applies to all areas of cancer treatment, from a medical, human and social perspective.
Clinical research is a rigorous school whose values are at the heart of the ICO's strategy. Its daily mission is to achieve excellence to offer patients a global approach together with new solutions for all types of cancer.

Clinical research at the ICO : it's more than a mission, it's a 'raison d'être'

ICO's research programs bring together teams involved in fundamental research, translational research and clinical research. This collaborative approach results in constant exchanges and shared knowledge and experience which lead to both better understanding and improved treatment of cancer.

Clinical research at the ICO coverts all cancer-related disciplines :

  • Medical oncology,
  • Radiotherapy,
  • Surgery and anesthesia,
  • Medical imaging,
  • Nuclear medicine,
  • Supportive care,
  • Pharmacy,
  • Human and social sciences.

The ICO is a member of the following Scientific Research Committees :

Cape Town University, South Africa / Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada / Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands / University Information of Boston, USA /  Columbia University, New York, USA / Ludwig Institute of New York, USA / Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) Karlsruhe, Germany.



Spreading and sharing knowledge

Teaching is one of the three vocations of a Cancer Care Centre. In line with the "Care-Research-Teaching" continuum, the ICO's health professionals are committed to sharing their expertise, research work and clinical practices with physicians, healthcare workers and medical students.

Training Centre

The ICO provides cancer education through a continuing vocational training program. This learning process is in line with the national Cancer Plans and offers training solutions to health professionals, physicians, nurses and workers. A real pillar in Western France for its specific methods and adapted educational resources, the ICO houses an approved training centre. It has obtained the 'Continuous Professional Development' certification and developed a partnership with the EFEC (European Cancer Institute).


How to support us ?


The money raised thanks to generous donations makes it possible for the ICO to fund work in cancer research, finance specific items of equipment and refurbish day care facilities and wards. Legacies and gifts Every year, the ICO receives financial support in the form of legacies and gifts that are listed in a notarial act.


At the ICO, sponsoring is a way to support innovative ideas. Sponsoring offers a new approach via the initiative of the company and opens avenues to valuable  learning experience for businesses. Sponsoring also represents a way to change the image of the company involved and to strengthen employee commitment to the organisation.

For further information, please get in touch with the Communications department, which is in charge of donations and sponsoring.
Contact : Christian Houdoux : +33(0)2 40 67 99 11 / +33(0)6 63 95 95 41 / Email : don@ico.unicancer.fr or visite sur www.ico-cancer.fr


Art and cultural events

The introduction of cultural events at the ICO has made the hospital feel more human and has made a real difference in the way patients and health professionals perceive their environment. The ICO stages exhibitions, art events and meetings regularly. As part of a special partnership with the Ministry of Culture and  Communication and the Regional Office of Cultural Affairs in Pays de la Loire, the artist Bruno PEINADO created a unique piece of art in the supportive care unit and the surgery consulting rooms of the Nantes hospital. His artwork offers patients a tranquil and relaxated atmosphere while they are waiting to be seen by the medical staff. It is worth noting that the ICO is regularly given paintings and sculptures by artists.


The ICO's Patron

Jean-Loup Chrétien, Brigadier General and Astronaut, 1st Frenchman and 1st West European in space

" To champion a noble cause is a great honour. We are all touched by this dreaded disease at some point, whether in our family or among our friends and  colleagues. Cancer will be overcome because a number of people are devoted and determined to fight against it. Physicians and researchers, collective services and other directly involved entities continuously deploy their skills to this end. Others, including myself, must contribute to this collective effort with strength and a deep sense of civic aid. Only then will this scourge of the 20th century be eradicated like the other major diseases that were fatal to our ancestors. History will show how our generation embraced this mission, how it fought and won the fight against cancer ". Jean-Loup Chrétien


Major projects

Hospital facilities fully recreated on the Angers university campus

In autumn 2015, 21 000 m2 will be dedicaced to healthcare services, research and teaching with two technical units which will be shared with the Regional Teaching Hospital, University Hospital Centre (surgical theatre and medical imaging).

Individualised and customised medicine

Customised medicine at the ICO aims to improve the performance of healthcare services. Each patient is given personalised treatment, adapted not only to the  genetic and biological specificities of their tumour but also to their environment and lifestyle.

Proton therapy : new perspectives

The ICO is a referral centre in France for cancer treatment, specializing in radiotherapy. The proton therapy project at the ICO aims to create a unique healthcare concept in Western France for the treatment of tumours, particularly for children, based on the use of protons. This new therapy could treat 400 patients in the west of France every year. The project, led the by ICO and their partners (FCCC Eugène Marquis, Arronax, HUGO radiotherapy services, Subatech  /Ecole des Mines laboratory, Nantes), is supplemented by an original research project which is the only one its kind in Europe, which is undertaken in association with the INSERM research institutes.

SITO (Therapeutic Innovation in Oncology Site)

The ICO aims to facilitate cooperation among the teams involved in translational, fundamental and clinical research. SITO's objective is to curb treatment inequality, provide access to accurate therapeutic innovation and ensure that patients are offered individualised treatment. Establishing closer geographical links is essential in optimising the patient's journey within the research system.