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World Cancer Day 2015: EU Research to Fight Cancer

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Europe, with about 3.2 million citizens diagnosed with cancer each year (source: EC Joint Research Centre). So what is the EU doing to fight it?

To mark World Cancer Day 2015 (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. From 2007-2014, the EU 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 – was 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.

Researchers are also blazing a trail towards personalised medicine in cancer care. This will mean the provision of new immunotherapy treatments targeting some of the most complicated conditions. In line with this approach an EU-funded project, MERIT, is developing new technologies to help doctors provide targeted, individual treatments. It has so far conducted clinical trials involving eight melanoma patients to demonstrate the potential of this approach.

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

image of the doctor measuring patient blood pressure

Novel therapy starves the engine driving cancer cell growth

European researchers have identified a novel approach to prevent the growth of cancer tumours and inhibit them from spreading, potentially leading to highly effective treatments with fewer side effects.

Picture of the doctor with microscope

3D protein models developed to better understand diseases

Pioneering new microscopic techniques capable of achieving accurate 3D protein models could one day lead to new cancer therapies and treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's. Developed by EU-funded researchers, the techniques have also been used to study how to improve antimalarial drugs.

 

Read more cancer research success stories