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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 baby with a headscarf beating the disease

Why cancer drugs affect young children differently

Cancer drugs save lives, but they are highly toxic. Using the right amounts is crucial. EU-funded research focusing on doxorubicin, one of the main drugs used in chemotherapy, has generated new knowledge that will help to refine the dosages for children.

Photo of pills and flowers

Reproducing plant-production processes for key drugs

Around one quarter of all prescribed pharmaceuticals in the developed world are derived from plants, including well-known drugs such as morphine and codeine. Harvesting plants to derive such medicines can be slow, wasteful and very expensive, yet often no synthetic alternative exists.

 

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