Innovation in oncology – Can science make cancer a manageable disease?

In Europe, more than 3 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. But recent advances in cancer treatment have offered new hope to those battling the disease.

Global research efforts to fight cancer have been increasing since the 1970s and have aimed to turn this disease from being fatal to being chronic and manageable. Success in this regard depends on intensive collaboration among scientific, medical, technological and pharmaceutical companies. The last few years have seen an explosion of new discoveries. Innovative healthcare technologies, strategies and services offer the potential to save, improve and extend the lives of millions of people diagnosed each year.

Improvements include: the speed and accuracy of diagnostic procedures, the effectiveness of surgery or radiation therapy, and the development of approaches to care. Gene editing techniques , (e.g. CRISPR and others) are being explored to recognise and kill cancer cells. There are however many barriers still to be overcome such as the access of patients to all innovative treatments and improving the quality of cancer care.

EURACTIV organised this high-level workshop to explore what should be done further to improve access to innovation and how health systems should develop in the coming years. Questions included:

  • How could the EU Framework improve in order to make room for innovative solutions?
  • How to standardise an access strategy for all patients to innovative treatments?
  • What are the barriers to further stimulate progress in tackling the disease?
  • How have cancer patient outcomes improved over the past years? What more can be done?
  • How are health systems dealing with new discoveries and how quickly are they coming to market?

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