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Europe unites against cancer

Translating discoveries from cancer research into meaningful clinical applications presents a major challenge. This has been addressed by a pan-European infrastructure.

Society

According to the World Health Organization, Europe’s cancer burden will increase by 20 % over the next two decades. Apart from social implications, cancer poses a heavy load on the healthcare system, necessitating constant surveillance and recurrent treatments for both new cases and cancer survivors. Until recently, Europe had no clear strategy for meeting these demands, and despite its resources and expertise, translational cancer research remained fragmented. The EU-funded project EUROCANPLATFORM (A European platform for translational cancer research) was established to address these obstacles and improve cooperation between basic research and cancer centres. A total of 23 European cancer research centres and 5 major cancer organisations joined forces to improve patient outcome and reduce mortality. The focus was on prevention, early detection and better treatments that will ultimately translate to better care. Project partners worked to establish a sustainable infrastructure capable of exploiting basic scientific findings and transforming them into clinical practice using state-of-the-art technologies. Their aim was to make cancer medicine more personalised and predictive through the use of high-throughput omics technologies. Examples of the work conducted by EUROCANPLATFORM include genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, methylation and epigenetics profiling in various cancer samples. In addition, researchers investigated several cancer treatments. To ensure the sustainability of translational cancer research in Europe, centres involved in therapeutic research committed themselves to a long-term collaboration. This is based on the sharing of resources with the aim of developing personalised cancer medicine. A similar long-term collaboration was developed for cancer prevention research. Another important aspect of the project’s work was education activities, which centred on translational research and multidisciplinary international collaborations. Taken together, EUROCANPLATFORM activities will help to integrate cancer research efforts across Europe, thereby leading to innovative treatments and prevention strategies.

Keywords

Cancer research, healthcare, EUROCANPLATFORM, high-throughput, omics

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