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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:

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.

Photo of a series of x-rays

A new look at treatments for childhood cancers

Children rarely develop tumours, but if they do, the prognosis is uncertain. Sometimes, the growth just disappears, without therapy. Unfortunately, few families are so lucky, and there are only a handful of specifically developed treatments. The EU-funded ASSET project is finding better ways to tackle some of the cancers that can appear in early life.

 

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