Safeguarding the future of independent, academic clinical cancer research in Europe for the benefit of patients.
AffiliationInternational Policy Office, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC),Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium
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AbstractCancer is a complex disease that is constantly evolving. It is now the most common cause of death in Europe after cardiovascular diseases. There are inequalities among European countries, potentially unsustainable healthcare systems impacting quality of cancer care and increasing number of patients with cancer with rare conditions. Clinical and translational research are the backbone in establishing scientific advances as novel treatments and advancing progress to the benefit of patients. Commercially sponsored clinical trials are responsible for developing new medicines that can treat various disease areas, including cancer. It is important to note, however, that these clinical trials only assess the viability of compounds that are chosen by a commercial entity that funds the entire process. By their design and focus, these trials need to fulfil commercial interests and market expectations, which do not always coincide with patients' needs. As soon or even before novel treatments and compounds obtain formal market authorisation, academia will take these existing and new medicines to further conduct research in order to optimise their use, develop new combinations and with a strong focus on the patients and their needs. Established standard of care most commonly relies on clinical cancer research stemming from non-commercial entities, cooperative groups or academic clinical research. This article provides a consensus on the definition of academic research, illustrates its added value and suggests and calls to European Union institutions to support this type of research for the benefit of patients.
CitationSafeguarding the future of independent, academic clinical cancer research in Europe for the benefit of patients. 2017, 2(3): e000187 ESMO Open