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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 two scientists in a lab

Peptide printouts help unravel protein interactions

An EU-funded project has built a 'printer' that can produce protein-type samples to advance healthcare research, particularly diagnostics and drug therapies for virulent diseases such as cancer. The results have already been commercialised, and are being used by scientists.

Anti-cancer drugs customised for children

One of the most common forms of cancer in children is acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and the children affected have to rely on tablet-based treatments developed for adults. The European Union (EU)-funded LOULLA&PHILLA project designed a new range of anti-cancer drugs specifically aimed at children. The drugs ensure an appropriate safe dosage and are available in a flavoured oral liquid form to make it easier for parents to administer to children.

 

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