In addition to the scientific aspect, cancer research should address the social, political and economic aspects of the disease, said Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, speaking at a conference on cancer in Brussels on 22 May. Four points are highly important, insisted the Commissioner: the international context, clinical and industrial applications, a comprehensive vision and management flexibility. 'Oncology research represents a very good example of research which necessitates a European level approach,' said Mr Busquin. 'Even if healthy competition can prove to be beneficial, a certain level of collaboration makes it possible to avoid a wastage of human and financial resources.' Concerning clinical and industrial applications, Mr Busquin argued that the promise of new targets for drugs, new therapeutic approaches or new diagnostic tools is particularly attractive. 'Europe should also develop a comprehensive view of the problem and not limit itself solely to the support and coordination of available research,' continued the Commissioner, saying that Europe should also address research infrastructures, researcher mobility, the views of patients, bioethical aspects and the needs and opportunities at the industrial level. Mr Busquin reminded his audience that the scientific research environment is constantly changing, and that this demands huge flexibility from both researchers and management. The Commissioner also took the opportunity to draw attention to the advantages of the proposed European Research Area (ERA) for cancer research. 'A cooperative effort is necessary in order to ensure that every European citizen profits fully from this knowledge revolution and the tools which make oncology research possible,' said Mr Busquin.