The European Academy of Cancer Sciences (EACS), an independent advisory body of medical specialists and researchers, has issued a position paper encouraging the European Union and its member states to formally launch a mission to boost and streamline cancer research. Published in Molecular Oncology, a journal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, the goal is to increase the societal impact of research by decreasing cancer incidence, increasing cure rate, improving health-related quality of life, and developing cost-effective cancer prevention and therapeutic strategies.
Cancer is a group of complex diseases that places an increasingly heavy burden on society and healthcare systems. To address this challenge, the EU commission, national governments, research institutes, and hospitals must ensure that they coordinate their efforts. Significant advances can be made through an interactive continuum of cancer research, from innovative basic research to implementation and long-term follow-up of state-of-the-art evidence-based cancer care and prevention. This will require careful coordination between cancer research and healthcare across Europe through Comprehensive Cancer Centres. The position paper highlights specific areas where initiatives should be taken. The EACS emphasises the following 11 issues that will require further attention:
Support for high-quality basic and preclinical cancer research,
Creation of collaborative networks focussed on primary prevention,
Support for research in the area of early detection,
Support for translational research aimed at identifying new innovative therapeutic interventions,
Quality assurance of research environments and development of strategies to improve the infrastructures,
Establishment of collaborative networks with aligned diagnostic and treatment services,
Support for research that can assess the effectiveness of prevention, early detection, and clinical interventions,
Development of Open Science, Open Innovation, and Open to the World
Adoption of innovations by Healthcare Organisations,
Support for high-quality Big Data collections and intelligent use of these data,
Development of initiatives in the area of digital health.
To help address these issues, the EACS will prioritise areas of policy action, taking into consideration the urgent need to link research with healthcare systems as well as the opportunities that a cancer mission will bring to ensure that innovations will ultimately reach patients.
"Coordination of research, link to healthcare systems, and provision of evidence-based advice to inform policy will be crucial for boosting the societal impact of cancer research," said senior author Ulrik Ringborg, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm, Sweden.