The Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), directed by Carlo Catapano MD, PhD, was established in 2003 as the Laboratory of Experimental Oncology and as part of the Research Division of the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland IOSI.

In September 2011 the institute became independent and is now managed administratively through the Foundation for the Institute of Oncology Research (President, Prof. Franco Cavalli).

As of January 2017, the Canton Ticino approved the integration of IOR as an academic institute within the new Faculty of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Lugano (USI) and from July 21, 2021 on, the IOR is part of the Bellinzona Institutes of Science (Bios+).

Since the beginning IOR has continued on its path of expansion, strengthening its research capabilities and activities. Currently, about 60 researchers work at the IOR.

Research activities are divided into two main programs, each including various research teams.
The first program is dedicated to solid tumors, such as prostate cancer, and the second program deals with hematological diseases and lymphomas.
Researchers working in both programs integrate biological, genomics and molecular approaches with preclinical and translational studies to understand the disease and identify new treatment strategies.

Important features of the research carried out at the IOR are its inter-disciplinarity, the integration of clinical and basic research and the continuous interaction with clinicians and researchers through a wide network of national and international collaborations.

Furthermore IOR has a very active training program for undergraduate, graduate students, post-docs and medical fellows in collaboration with Swiss and foreign Universities and, from 2017, with USI.