European cancer centers finally united in long-term collaborative partnerships

December 03, 2015

For many decades, cancer research in Europe has been heavily fragmented, inefficient and duplicating work. Now, long-term collaborations have been generated between cancer centres which will carry a new phase of cooperation into the future.

Five years ago, 28 top cancer research institutes and organisations in the continent came together in a unique EU-financed collaboration as the 'EurocanPlatform' to share infrastructure and work together on projects.

Predicted to increase significantly globally as the population ages, cancer places a substantial burden on healthcare systems particularly regarding surveillance and recurrent treatment.

"We're faced with this growing cancer burden and at the same time we're confronted with the spiralling costs of cancer treatment and care", says Christopher Wild, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

There is now an urgent need to meet these challenges by developing long-term strategies to speed up the translation of basic discoveries into clinical and preventive applications.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, stated at the project's final Annual Meeting in Brussels on 3rd November 2015 that patients should be at the centre of research.

Moving to personalised medicine will lead to challenges requiring a link to digital technology and new legal and ethical standards to support international collaborations and compilation of data will be required.

There is a need for cancer care that is innovative and cost-effective, and the cancer community needs to give advice and support.

Now in its final months, the EurocanPlatform project has produced some important outcomes that are hoped to impact cancer patient outcomes and reduced mortality.

Cancer Core Europe (CCE), a recently established long-term initiative between six leading cancer centres from the EurocanPlatform (Institute Gustave Roussy in Paris, Cambridge Cancer Centre, Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Vall D'Hebron Institute of Cancer in Barcelona and the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) in Heidelberg).

This aims to create a single virtual 'e-hospital' which will provide powerful translational platforms, inter-compatible clinical molecular profiling laboratories with a robust underlying computational biology pipeline, standardised imaging as well as early clinical trial structures to address personalised cancer medicine. Each centre has invested funds towards this important goal.

Spearheaded by Professor Alexander Eggermont and Professor Otmar Wiestler, CCE has its roots running through the project and all the way back to 2002, when Commissioner Philippe Busquin promoted the creation of the European Cancer Research Area, saying "Europe was not delivering the outcomes expected by healthcare professionals and citizens, and there was a need to create a joint European strategy for cancer research."

EurocanPlatform's Scientific Coordinator Julio Celis of the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre said: "I believe CCE represents the first organised step in this direction....hopefully, CCE will be a precursor to a virtual European Cancer Institute."

Commissioner Carlos Moedas said "As I see it, digital technologies and personalised medicine will provide many of the answers we need to fight cancer in the 21st century. There is a lot we can explore, with the ultimate goal of bringing the digital and the physical together to fight cancer, so that fewer citizens become patients and more patients become survivors."

Following on from the initial success of CCE, Dr Christopher Wild of IARC plans to create a counterpart initiative: Cancer Prevention Europe.

He said, "To really address that challenge we needed not only to focus on improving treatment which is essential, but also trying to address the prevention of the disease and its early detection, and having a more integrated approach across those different areas."

"I was impressed at the progress that had been made between these major cancer institutes together to form what is now called the Cancer Core Europe. I wanted to introduce a kind of 'twin-track' approach, if you like, saying let's try a similar type of approach regarding cancer prevention."

Coordinating approaches across centres in cancer prevention is the perfect complement to CCE, giving a symmetrical, sustainable approach to tackling cancer in Europe.

Ulrik Ringborg of the Karolinska Institutet, the project's coordinating partner, remarked: "The EurocanPlatform has created a multidisciplinary environment to structure research collaboration between preclinical and clinical cancer research centres for translational research aimed at personalized cancer medicine. We are delighted that the EurocanPlatform has been able to deliver important sustainable outcomes which will strengthen Europe's ability to innovate in cancer research."
-end-
About the EurocanPlatform: The EurocanPlatform is an EU-funded Network of Excellence linking 23 cancer research centres and five cancer organisations aiming at institutional collaborations in translational cancer research to innovate in prevention, early detection and therapeutics. The centres are sharing infrastructures and collaborating on projects to help advance cancer research and treatment.

Funding: The EurocanPlatform is funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2011-2015) under grant agreement n° 260791. http://www.eurocanplatform.eu

ecancermedicalscience

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.