Montpellier / Research: Dr. Stéphanie Nougaret panics America

Stéphanie Nougaret, winner of the European ERC grant, hosted by MIT in Boston (©ICM)

Dr Stephanie Nougaret, medical radiologist and researcher on the campus of theMontpellier Cancer Institute (ICM), won one of the most coveted scholarships in the world: a “Starting Grant” (known as ERC scholarships), granted by the European Research Council to young researchers of the future.

Researcher for MIT

“The awarding of this prestigious grant is a major recognition of the scientific excellence of the research project developed in Montpellier by Stéphanie”, explains Professor Azria, Coordinator of the ICM’s radiotherapy department: “Doctor Nougaret, who studies in Montpellier, works in particular on ovarian cancer, develops a new approach in the treatment of this pathology via medical imaging”.

“If I manage to develop this new technology, it will be applicable to ovarian cancer of course, but also to other cancers”

Stephanie Nougaretradiologist and researcher at the ICM

The researcher’s project: achieve, by combining medicine and artificial intelligence, the visualization of cancerous lesions, that is to say their transcription into an image. Such technology does not currently exist for ovarian cancer, but if it succeeds, women will benefit from a better assessment of the stage of the disease and, ultimately, more appropriate treatment.

Stéphanie Nougaret: a global pioneer

“Stéphanie is a world pioneer in the digitization of cancers”, adds Professor Azria. Stéphanie Nougaret insists on the need to find new treatments: “Ovarian cancer is detected by biopsy, but this very invasive technique only gives a very partial picture of the state of the cancer, and often too late. Ovarian cancer, in fact, is characterized by numerous and different lesions: a patient may have between 2 and 5 kg of tumors distributed throughout the abdomen. This makes it very complicated to monitor patients and the effectiveness of treatment because each lesion responds differently”. In the end, ovarian cancer turns out to be fatal in 50% of cases: “As a doctor and as a woman, I want to change things,” says the researcher. For her, there is no doubt: “Medical imaging supported by AI will allow doctors to have a more precise and comprehensive assessment to better treat ovarian cancer”.

With Harvard Medical School and MIT

The work carried out at the ICM by Stéphanie Nougaret has not gone unnoticed internationally. The ERC grant granted him an envelope of €1.5 million over 5 years to develop his research project. And the Montpellier researcher even won over the Americans, who invited her to settle (with her family) in Boston, where she is now pursuing her research, still in connection with the ICM, with Harvard Medical School and within MIT ( Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the most prestigious research center in the world.

> The success rate after applying for an ERC grant is estimated at 5%

A first for Montpellier

On the other side of the Atlantic, surrounded by a reinforced team of international researchers, she wants to develop a mathematical model based on algorithms to create the device that will make it possible to visualize tumors: “If I manage to develop this new technology, it will be applicable to ovarian cancer of course, but also to other cancers”, she warns.

While waiting for this big day, Stéphanie Nougaret has already achieved a feat: she is the first Montpellier researcher to win an ERC grant.

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Montpellier / Research: Dr. Stéphanie Nougaret panics America

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