News Alert

News Alert

New EU-funded cancer research projects

Brussels, 4 February 2011

To mark World Cancer Day, this news alert outlines some of the 19 new cancer research projects which will be financed by the European Union to the tune of almost €95 million. With this new investment, EU financial support for cancer research since 2003 amounts to close to €1 billion, funding 183 projects. This support has created the necessary collaboration between cancer centres, researchers and patient advocacy groups in different countries to improve the way in which rare cancers are tackled, help make the best treatments available to everyone and reach more patients.

A survey among cancer experts has identified the need to reinforce networking and alignment of existing national and EU initiatives, to develop further support infrastructures for research purposes and to encourage collaboration between the major European centres for research and treatment of cancer.

To address these needs, European collaborative efforts in EU cancer projects have taken a problem-solving approach, focusing on overarching issues of prevention, pathogenesis, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers, as well as care of cancer patients. Big efforts are being made on breast cancer and rare cancers, melanoma, leukaemia and cancer imaging. Cancer in women and children receives special attention, and, for the first time in Europe, a project will focus on the long-term side effects of treatment in childhood cancer survivors.

Examples of new research projects on cancer

RATHER - Rational Therapy for Breast Cancer: Individualized Treatment for Difficult-to-Treat Breast Cancer Subtypes.

There are currently no effective targeted therapies for one quarter of all breast cancer patients. The RATHER project is expected to deliver proof-of-concept for novel therapeutic interventions, together with matched personalised diagnostic approaches for patients for whom there are no targeted therapies available. The two difficult-to-treat subtypes to be investigated are "triple negative" breast tumours (15% of all breast cancers) and invasive lobular carcinomas of the breast (10% of breast tumours).

- Duration: 4 years
- EU contribution: €6 million
- Coordinator: Prof. William Gallagher, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, IE,
- Partners from: IE, NL, FR, SE, ES, UK

PanCareSurFup - PanCare Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Survivor Care and Follow-up Studies

This project aims to provide every European childhood cancer survivor with better access to care and better long-term health. Although treatments for childhood and adolescent cancers have improved greatly thanks to medical research, some late complications of treatment can still lead to chronic ill-health or disability, and thereby constitute a significant burden on individuals and families, and on health services and society. The researchers will collect the information on late effects of cancer therapy and look for the first time at long-term survival, in order to improve the survivors’ health and quality of life and to maximise efficient use of health services. Risk prediction and guidelines for care and education based on PanCareSurFup's research will be tailored for each country.

- Duration: 5 years
- EU contribution: €6 million
- Coordinator: Dr. Lars Hjorth, Lund University, SE,
- Partners from: SE, UK, IT, DE, IE, AT, NL, HU, CH, FR, BE

HARP - Evaluation and impact of screening and treatment approaches for the prevention of cervical neoplasia in HIV-positive women in Burkina Faso and South Africa: HPV in Africa Research Partnership.
Every year, over  a quarter of a million women die of cervical cancer, a disease that has become almost entirely preventable through screening and vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18. Most cancer cases and mortality are found in developing countries, where women seldom have access to any form of cancer prevention and detection. Women living with HIV are at particularly high risk of being infected and experiencing fast progression of the disease. The HARP Consortium is designed to provide a better evidence base to guide future cervical cancer screening and treatment programmes for HIV-positive women in Africa. It will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of various screening strategies and model their long-term impact on cancer reduction and lives saved.

- Duration: 42 months
- EU contribution: €3 million
- Coordinator: Dr. Philippe Mayaud, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK,
- Partners from: UK, FR, Burkina Faso, South Africa

EUROCANPLATFORM - A European Platform for Translational Cancer Research

EurocanPlatform is a network of Europe’s 28 most research-intensive institutions as well as cancer patients' organisations, of which the majority are clinical (patient focused), and others are engaged in basic research. This initiative focuses on the validation of biomarkers and the support of innovative clinical trials and bio-banking. The project aims to find more effective ways to ensure the prevention, early discovery and treatment of different forms of cancer. Professor Ulrik Ringborg from the Karolinska Institutet medical university, who is coordinating the project, comments, “In a way, you could say that this initiative represents a paradigm shift in cancer research. The project will last five years, establishing a collaborative structure within the EU for cancer research.”
- Duration: 5 years
- EU contribution: €12 million
- Coordinator: Dr. Ulrik Ringborg, Karolinska Institutet, SE,
- Partners from: SE, FR, DK, NO, ES, IT, DE, UK, NL, BE, HU


EU-funded cancer research

EU-funded research projects in the area of childhood cancer

"Overcoming cancer with research" hosts a website in English and German for children and teenagers, and lots of useful information for adults too.

TV documentary, "Little heroes - great opportunities. Childhood cancer research in Europe", (PDF 1 MB, Produced by the EU project, DIRECT):

EU-funded initiatives in the field of cancer control:

Press release: New EU Guidelines on Colorectal Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

European Code Against Cancer
European Partnership for Action Against Cancer