The European Academy of Cancer Sciences is an independent advisory body of eminent oncologists and cancer researchers, placing science at the core of policies to sustainably reduce the death and suffering caused by cancer in Europe.
Provide information and expertise across the cancer continuum The Academy is an advisory body of Fellows elected by their peers from the entire cancer research continuum who have made outstanding contributions in their field. It will strive for excellence at all levels. Questions posed to the Academy will be relayed to the relevant experts in the field and, following validation, a well-substantiated response will be provided. Where agreement cannot be reached, the Academy will highlight critical issues for further analysis.
The Academy will define and promote strategies to improve prevention, early detection, and therapeutics. Addressing health determinants, such as tobacco, alcohol and obesity, are of critical importance. The development of personalised cancer medicine is a strategy to improve the outcome of a treatment by tailoring it as closely as possible to the individual patient. It may lead to transforming cancer into a chronic disease as well as to improving long-term remission and cure rates. Early detection provides the link between prevention and therapeutics. The use of the translational cancer research continuum for more effective developments in prevention, early detection, and personalised cancer medicine will be an important task for the Academy.
The Academy will support new strategies to improve innovation by creating links between cancer researchers and policy-makers.
Innovation is one of the main challenges for Europe and a priority area for the European Union.
Innovation should be evaluated in terms of its long-term benefit for patients. The long period, often decades, that is required to implement and evaluate innovation in clinical practice or prevention is a key challenge. The effectiveness of the translation process from ‘bench to bedside’ should be enhanced. This requires better integration of preclinical and clinical research as well as a healthcare system that can facilitate translational research. Thus, aligning regulations concerning both ethical and legal issues in medicine and research, such as the use of patient samples across European countries, is of great importance.
Translational cancer research aimed at innovation is financed by different sources, but coordination between such sources remains suboptimal. National and international funding bodies, healthcare organisations and industry are the most important sources of cancer research funding. Closer collaboration, which is not restricted to national borders, and a shared vision would result in a more effective use of research resources. Lack of financial support for large preventive, clinical and epidemiological studies of no commercial interest remains a major problem for European cancer research.
The prioritisation of research areas in order to enhance innovation is a concern for most research funders, including the European Commission. The Academy will promote excellence as the driving indicator to prioritize research funding.
Furthermore, the current fragmented cancer research landscape in Europe needs a body to promote integration of the various research agendas and the Academy will fulfil such a role. Important questions raised by politicians and funding organisations, which touch on cross-border issues, will also be addressed by the Academy. This may include new partnership models between academic institutions and industry.
One important mission for the Academy is to overcome the fragmentation of European cancer research by identifying opportunities to improve translational cancer research. New types of research collaborations – aimed at reaching the critical mass for all types of cancer research, as well as the development of the necessary infrastructures – will be promoted. The strategies and activities to improve translational cancer research in Europe will be used as a model for translational medicine in general, and the Academy will aim to promote a European structure for supporting and implementing translational medicine.
The Academy will support interaction between researchers. Focused scientific meetings alongside the exchange of researchers between cancer research centres are considered of great importance both for cross-fertilisation of know-how and good practice and to avoid duplication of efforts. Stimulating the development of translational cancer research is considered a priority, a prerequisite of which is fundamental, innovative, cutting-edge research on clinical material.
Views are polarised in various areas of oncology where common misconceptions exist, such as screening and treatment protocols.
The Academy will use an evidence-based approach to provide guidance on strategies for making progress in areas that are currently at a standstill.
Please click here for the full text of the Mission and Vision paper.