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Horizon Prizes

Take a look at the Horizon Prizes web site to see which challenge you might take up ...

• Better use of Antibiotics • Breaking the optical transmission barriers
• Clean air • Collaborative Spectrum Sharing • Food scanner

World Cancer Day 2014: EU Research to Fight Cancer

According to most recently published data, there were an estimated 1.4 million new cases of cancer in men and 1.4 million in women in the EU in 2012. In the same year, approximately 707 000 men and 555 000 women died from cancer. Although significant advances are being made in the fight against the disease, cancer remains a key public health concern and a tremendous burden on European societies. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the European Union – a figure that is expected to rise due to the ageing European population.

Where does the EU come into the picture? To mark World Cancer Day 2014 (4 February), here is a quick look at what the EU is doing in the field of cancer research.

 

The EU invests over €200 million per year in cancer research.

The EU is an important cancer research funder. During the past seven years, the EU has invested more than €1.4 billion in international collaborative research, frontier research, mobility programmes, public-private partnerships and coordination of national cancer research efforts.

More than half this budget - € 770 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.

For instance, the EU-funded RATHER project is delivering a proof-of-concept for novel therapeutic interventions, together with matched personalised diagnostic approaches for 'triple negative' and 'invasive lobular' breast cancers. RATHER has initiated a phase I/II clinical trial to examine patient responses to a novel drug in a clinical setting.

The application of nanotechnology in medicine (nanomedicine) also creates new opportunities for early diagnosis and therapy of cancer. The EU-funded projects NAMDIATREAM and SaveMe develop nanotechnology-based diagnosis and therapy for cancer.

Clinical trials to validate new cancer medicines and treatments are also at the core of the EUROSARC network, which focuses on rare malignant tumours affecting soft- and bone tissues. For this project, working across the whole of Europe is the only way to recruit enough patients in a reasonable timeframe to carry out the tests, something that would not have been possible for one individual country.

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

Photo of a stethoscope and an x-ray

New stent to help lung cancer victims breathe easier

Many lung cancer patients have trouble breathing - and if they can't be cured, the struggle for air can become a relentless ordeal. Pulmonary stents - tubes inserted in the lung - can help. EU-funded researchers are taking this technique another step ahead with a new type of stent designed to improve and potentially extend the lives of people going through the final stages of the disease.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

New tests aim to detect breast and ovarian cancers earlier

The EU-funded project EPIFEMCARE is developing blood tests that could lead to the earlier detection of ovarian and breast cancers, fewer over-diagnoses of breast cancer and improved personalised care.

 

Read more cancer research success stories