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New European collaboration on cancer research

Wed, 01/19/2011 - 8:34am
EurekAlert

Europe's leading oncology organisations are combining forces in the global fight against cancer. The project, EurocanPlatform, has received €12 million from the European Union to streamline cross border research. The project will find more effective ways to ensure the prevention, early discovery and treatment of different forms of cancer.

Professor Ulrik Ringborg from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet, who is coordinating the project, comments, "In a way, you could say that this initiative represents a paradigm shift in cancer research. The project will last for five years, establishing a collaborative structure within the EU for cancer research."

Despite improved diagnostics and treatment in recent years, the number of people dying of cancer is expected to rise. Already the world's deadliest disease group, cancer is growing as one of the largest chronic diseases, putting immense pressure on healthcare systems around the globe.

At the same time, however, modern cancer research is rapidly improving understanding of the disease, and new technologies are being developed for use in patient focused cancer research. Scientists hope that they will one day not only be able to identify people at risk for cancer, but also adapt therapies to different types of cancer and to patients' individual circumstances.

"An important part of the project involves getting the right therapy to the right patient at the right time," says Professor Ringborg. "But before we can get there, we need to do a great deal of research since the range of possible tumours and therapies is vast. No one research centre can have the resources needed. We must make sure that we coordinate and exploit the resources we have to the full."

EurocanPlatform is a network of Europe's 28 most research-intensive institutions in the field of cancer, of which the majority are clinical (patient focused), the remainder being engaged in basic research. A great many researchers from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Britain are involved in various parts of the project. The collaborative platform allows individual research groups and organisations to conduct studies they would not otherwise have the resources for; with the costs of expensive equipment, tumour material and competence shared.

"The ultimate winners will be the patients, the public and the healthcare services." adds Professor Ringborg.

EurocanPlatform is due to hold its first conference in Stockholm on 20 January 2011. The project has gained funding under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme and is classed as a Network of Excellence (NoE).

Below is a list of the EurocanPlatform partners:

  1. Karolinska Institutet ("Coordinator"), Sweden
  2. Institut Curie, France
  3. Danish Cancer Society, Denmark
  4. Oslo Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Norway
  5. Spanish National Cancer Centre, Spain
  6. Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Italy
  7. German Cancer Research Centre, Germany
  8. Institut Gustave Roussy, France
  9. International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
  10. University of Oxford, UK
  11. European Institute of Oncology, Italy
  12. Christie NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  13. National Institute of Oncology, Hungary
  14. Netherlands Cancer Institute, Netherlands
  15. Erasmus Medical Centre, Netherlands
  16. Cambridge Cancer Research Institute, UK
  17. Institut Jules Bordet, Belgium
  18. European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany
  19. Institute of Cancer Research, Royal Marsden Hospital, UK
  20. Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands
  21. Fundacion Instituto Valenciano de Oncologia, Spain
  22. Istituto Tumori Bari, Italy
  23. Fundacio Privada Institut d'Investigacio Oncologica de Vall Hebron, Spain
  24. eCancer.eu, Switzerland
  25. ECCO The European CanCer Organisation, Belgium
  26. Organisation of European Cancer Institutes, Belgium
  27. European Cancer Patient Coalition, Netherlands
  28. European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Belgium

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