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History of the Institut Jules Bordet

Jules Bordet, a pioneer in cancer research

Since it was founded in 1939, the Institut Bordet has always remained loyal to its pioneering role in the fight against cancer. With this complex disease, the lives of patients and caregivers do more than simply cross paths, they become entwined. Here are some of the key dates in the history of the Institut Bordet – an institution that is proud of its past but which always looks resolutely towards the future.

Creation of the Institut Jules Bordet

Today, the Institut Bordet remains Belgium’s only integrated, monospecialist cancer hospital.

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) is established by Professor Tagnon

Today, the EORTC includes around 300 institutions which work together to develop the best possible therapeutic strategies for dealing with cancer. The Institut Bordet remains one of the most active members of the EORTC. It also boasts a highly successful Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) and has developed a number of clinical research expertise networks, including OncoDistinct.

The first Cancer Screening Clinic opens in Belgium

Today, the Institut Bordet is at the leading edge of cancer screening in Belgium. It offers the very latest technology and techniques for generalised, early detection and personalised cancer screening.

 “Les Amis de l'Institut Bordet” Foundation is created

Thanks to the generosity of the “Friends”, the Institut Jules Borde has been able to establish itself as one of world’s leading cancer centres.

The first Breast Clinic in Europe is established by Professor Nogaret

Treating several hundred new cases each year and with a medical and paramedical staff of around fifty, the Institut Bordet Breast Clinic remains the largest in Brussels and Wallonia. The Bordet Breast Clinic is at the forefront of patient treatment in terms of both diagnosis and therapy.

Creation of the Cancer Psychology Department – a first in Belgium

The Cancer Psychology Department offers cancer patients and their families the support of psychologists and specialist doctors. It also has support groups available to them during and after treatment.

Development of the sentinel lymph node technique in breast cancer – a first in Europe

Today, the sentinel lymph node technique is used in several types of cancer: breast, skin, penis, etc.

Creation of the Breast International Group (BIG) by Professor Piccart

Today, the BIG coordinates many clinical studies into breast cancer at an international level.

Creation of the Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory (BCTL)

The BCTL has developed a number of gene signatures which help predict how certain breast tumours will respond to treatment. This helps guide decisions regarding therapy and to provide individualised treatment.

First use of Herceptin

HER2 positive cancer accounts for one in five cases of breast cancer. The Institut Bordet has been heavily involved in the development of Herceptin, a drug which has considerably improved treatment of this aggressive type of tumour.

Mobetron® acquisition

"Les Amis de l'Institut Bordet" contribute to the acquisition of the Mobetron®, a piece of equipment used to irradiate certain tumours during surgery in a single session (as opposed to repeated sessions under conventional radiotherapy).

Global accreditation of the Bordet Transplant Centre

The Institut Bordet is the first hospital in Belgium to receive global accreditation for its Transplant Centre from the Belgian authorities (FAMHP), European authorities (JACIE) and international authorities (NetCord/FACT) for bone marrow transplants (hematopoietic stem cells) in adults and children

Accreditation label awarded by the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes

The Institut Bordet is the first OECI-approved centre in Belgium. The “Comprehensive Cancer Center” label recognises centres that offer multidisciplinary care combined with innovative research.

First PSMA PET-CT in Belgium

This is a new PET (Positron Emission Tomography) technique for the early detection of a recurrence of prostate cancer. The radiotracer is a molecule marked with Gallium-68 that targets the PSMA expressed by the prostate cancer cells.

Acquisition of a new scanner

The Institut Bordet now boasts a “dual tube dual energy” CT scanner which increases the capacity to detect lesions at low contrast and to better evaluate the response to certain cancer treatments.


This label of "Comprehensive Cancer Centre" recognises centres proposing multidisciplinary care combined with innovative research. The Institut Jules Bordet is the only integrated centre engaged in the fight against cancer to have OECI accreditation in Belgium. 

Inauguration of the New Jules Bordet Institute

Since the end of November 2021, the Jules Bordet Institute is located on the ULB campus in Anderlecht! The new building extends over 80,000 m² and 9 floors with 10.000m² dedicated to the research. It offers the very latest techniques and technology, along with 250 hospital beds and 40 out-patient beds.