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4 February 2016
World Cancer Day: EU Research to Fight Cancer

Cancer is likely to remain one of the biggest killers of the 21st century. Cancer now accounts for a quarter of all deaths and is the number one cause of death for people aged 45-64 in an increasing number of Member States overtaking cardiovascular disease.

Under Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013), about 1000 projects received funding totalling some € 1.5 billion.

Under Horizon 2020 (2014–2020) – the current EU framework programme for research and innovation – further financial support is being provided.  So far 272 projects have been funded for € 415 million.

In 2012 it was estimated that 3.45 million new cases were diagnosed and more than 1.75 million people died from cancer in Europe, making it one of the major health issues (see European Journal of Cancer). In recognition of this development, global research efforts to fight cancer have been ongoing since the 1970's to turn this disease into a chronic, instead of a fatal one.

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded cancer research projects with a link to more below:

Ilustration of Immray antibody array slide

Spotting pancreatic cancer early

Pancreatic cancer is usually detected too late, leaving patients little hope of recovery. But this may be about to change. A Swedish SME has developed a blood test to help clinicians identify new cases earlier, and it intends to make this diagnostic capability available very soon. Clinical validation is under way in an EU-funded project.

Photo of colonies of different fungi

Fungi against cancer

Marine fungi such as those growing on algae and corals generate powerful substances that could be used to target tumours. An EU-funded project has identified three particularly promising compounds and developed ways to produce them on an industrial scale - without damage to the fungi's natural habitat.

 

Read more cancer research success stories