With September being ‘Blood Cancer Awareness Month’, this issue of research*eu Results Magazine is shining a light on this group of diseases affecting the blood, bone marrow or lymphatic system. Thankfully, survival rates over five years have grown but as many of the conditions within this diverse group are cancer still continue to be fatal, constant research into new treatment options is needed. Thanks in part to EU-funded research under the FP7 and Horizon 2020 programmes, European scientists have been at the forefront of game-changing new treatments.
Blood cancer: ever more reasons to hope
September is ‘Blood cancer awareness month’: an occasion for spreading information about this group of diseases affecting the blood, bone marrow or lymphatic system. Every 35 seconds, a new patient is diagnosed with either leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma — the three main types of blood cancers. Most cancers in these sub-groups require specific and complex therapeutic strategies, yet, despite continuous scientific advances, most of them are still fatal.
There are, however, reasons to think positive. Since the 1960s, survival rates over five years have grown from 12 to 50 % for myeloma, 40 to 89 % for Hodgkin lymphoma, 31 to 73 % for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and 14 to 63 % for leukaemia. Haematologic oncology is rapidly evolving, and exciting treatment options are emerging thanks partly to EU-funded research efforts.
A great example of these advances is the cure found for acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL). Through a combination of arsenic and retinoic acid discovered by Prof. de Thé — whose latest research is presented in this issue of the research*eu Results Magazine — over 95 % of patients faced with this formerly incurable disease can now be cured.
Apart from these novel treatments — which include CARIPSCTCELLS’ off-the-shelf T cell therapies for multiple myeloma and HEAL-BY-MIRNA’s miRNA-based cure for B cell neoplasia — EU-funded research also helps shape the future of blood cancer therapies. It does so by opening the path towards increasingly personalised treatments (ONCOSMART and CHEMOS), facilitating clinical trials (INTREALL) or unveiling the processes driving cancer evolution (CLL_INCLONEL).
Besides these projects, which are all introduced in this magazine, others are presented across nine themes of research: health, society, energy, environment, aquatic resources, industry, information and communication technologies, security and fundamental research. The magazine closes with a list of upcoming events hosted by or involving EU-funded research projects.
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