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World Cancer Day: EU Research to Fight Cancer

In 2008 (latest figures available), an estimated 2.4 million new cases of cancer, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers, were diagnosed in EU countries – 55% in men, and 45% in women. The most commonly diagnosed cancers were prostate, colorectal, breast and lung cancer. Yet it is estimated that more than one third of cancers are preventable.

Where does the EU come into the picture? To mark World Cancer Day 2013 (4 February), here is a quick look at what the EU is doing in the field of cancer research.


The EU invests over €180 million per year in cancer research.

The EU is an important cancer research funder. During the past six years, the EU has invested more than €1.1 billion in international collaborative research, frontier research, mobility programmes, public-private partnerships and coordination of national cancer research efforts.

More than half this budget – €680 million – has been used to encourage key players from across Europe and beyond to join forces in 'collaborative research projects', to find new ways to fight cancer and help patients. These projects help us better understand how various types of cancer develop, how they can be diagnosed earlier and treated more successfully.

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded cancer research projects:

Illustration of cancerous cells

At the threshold of personalised cancer treatment

New tumour profiling methods developed by EU-funded researchers aim to help doctors adjust treatments for colorectal cancer to the specific needs of an individual patient. The methods are currently at the trial stage and could be in use in clinics within three years.

Photo of a research scientist with a petri dish

Defining biomarkers to spot bladder cancer

The European FP7 project DeCanbio brought together a consortium of clinicians and researchers in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics to identify and validate biomarkers that hint at a recurring bladder cancer. The Centre de Recherche de la Santé (CRP-Santé) joined forces with researchers and clinicians from France, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, and Germany to develop a simple test to spot this.

 

For more information:

10 Facts on EU Action to Fight Cancer

European Commission's Cancer research web site

European Commission's Public Health Cancer web site