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Better Funding for Research into Blood Diseases Will Save More Lives
Date:8/31/2011

BRUSSELS, August 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Research into blood-related diseases saves and improves the lives of millions of EU citizens each year, but lack of awareness of this fact means that too often, funding does not feed directly enough into advancing the treatment of patients.

"Haematology is probably the area of medicine that has progressed the most in recent years," said Professor Robin Foà of "La Sapienza" University of Rome. "For example, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), the most frequent form of cancer in children, used to kill most children that had it. Before, we used to cure 20 to 30 percent of cases; these days, we cure 80 per cent of cases." He added: "If we had more funding, we could definitely do more."

This was one of the key messages on the first day of a two-day conference, "Haematology and the next European decade", hosted by the European Parliament to highlight the positive impact of haematology research across a range of medical conditions, and the leading role it will have in the knowledge economy envisaged in the European Union's 2020 Strategy.

Today the conference - attended by doctors, researchers, parliamentarians, patients' organisations and Commission officials - also discussed the European Commission's Green Paper on the Common Strategic Framework for the funding of research and innovation, which will affect how much of the €80 billion allocated in the next EU budget to all areas of research will go towards health.

Haematology - a discipline covering all blood-related areas, from frequent diseases like anaemia to rare cancers, including malignant and non-malignant diseases - is always at the forefront of medical research, both at its basic level and its application, which these days often involves working closely with the biotechnology industries.

It is literally vital for patients that any new EU legislation should improve co-operation for more and better-targeted funding for research in haematology, allowing haematologists to secure the research resources they need to help patients access the best possible expertise and treatment. The conference therefore aims to create grass-roots momentum for collaboration by all stake-holders at European, national and regional level to ensure this happens.

This is why initiatives like the Brussels conference, organised jointly by the European Cancer Patient Coalition and the European Hematology Association, the haematologists' organisation, are crucial for raising awareness in the wider public, but also for sending a clear message to regulators, administrators, officials and MEPs that their voice needs to be heard.    

Editor's Notes:

The European Hematology Association is an NGO that promotes excellence in clinical practice, research and education in European haematology. EHA is the representative of haematology and haematologists in Europe (members: 3,000+; annual congress attendance: +/-9,000 haematologists; Haematologica/The Haematology Journal: the primary general haematology journal in Europe). Further information can be found at http://www.ehaweb.org

The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) was founded in 2003 under the slogan "Nothing About Us, Without Us". It is committed to improving cancer prevention, screening, early diagnosis and best treatment, reducing disparity and inequality across the EU. ECPC seeks to ensure that policy makers, politicians, health professionals, the media and the general public recognise the serious nature of cancer and the need for concerted action to reduce unnecessary death and suffering. Further information can be found at http://www.ecpc-online.org


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SOURCE European Hematology Association
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