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:
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