by St. Baldrick's Foundation
October 15, 2020


That’s how Dr. Olivier Ayrault described the loss of two school friends to cancer when he was growing up. The experience left an indelible imprint on him and he believes set his course in life to do something to fight cancer.

On the Leading Edge of Pediatric Cancer Research

Because of this fierce determination to make an impact for kids with cancer, Dr. Ayrault has emerged as a leading researcher in the field of pediatric cancer globally. His mentors recognize that “his innovative vision for new technologies is world class,” and his colleagues tout his “leadership and forefront thinking.”

Dr. Ayrault is exactly the kind of scientist Dr. Robert Arceci would have loved. Young, passionate, and an “out of the box” thinker.

So it is with great pride that we announce Dr. Ayrault as the 2020 international recipient of the St. Baldrick’s Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award.

A Prominent Award

Named for the late Dr. Arceci, this prestigious grant honors his legacy of innovation and creative thinking in the search for cures. It is a unique grant – $250,000 a year for three years and the freedom to follow the science without restriction.

The Relentless Pursuit of Science

Leading a 14-member research team at the Institut Curie in Paris, Dr. Ayrault will persist with his research of key events in the development of tumor cells by focusing on the relationship between what happens during brain development and tumor formation. With this knowledge, his goal is to develop novel tools and approaches to stop tumor growth.

“Our projects are multi-disciplinary and gather a variety of expertise going from physics, bioinformatics, biology and clinic, which makes our work unique,” explains Dr. Ayrault. “The freedom is a big asset for us as it will allow us to adapt, anticipate quickly and most of all, move forward faster in our research.”

A Potential for Limitless Applications

But that’s not all. Dr. Ayrault says this research has the potential to be applied to any type of pediatric cancer, so it’s likely to have a broad impact on all childhood cancers.

Dr. Ayrault is beyond grateful for this opportunity, “I was speechless… I couldn’t believe it! It will mean we can go forward and make major advances.” Because for this exceptional young researcher, kids getting cancer is “unthinkable.”

Join us to help #GiveKidsALifetime!


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