Beating Cancer plan is the new EU project with a global fund of €4 billion, in order to make more researches and their results to be used for a even better treatments of cancer patients.
The main concept of this plan differs from the past one, because the priority will be on developing new research networks and investing in the technology. In this digital era, only this kind of project will lead to better cancer prevention and early detection with existing screening programs.
The future of cancer detection is in inventing a new artificial intelligence (AI) applications and making the ones more applicable for a health care systems worldwide use. In this phase of the project the main aim is to get a greater data sharing and a better collaboration.
The next year, the European Cancer Imaging Initiative with team of researchers and hospitals will apply a tumor atlas of unidentified cancers scans to teach and train the diagnostic AI tools.
“Early detection saves lives. We need to screen more and screen better. This means adopting better technology,” EU health chief Stella Kyriakides said.
The coordination of the technical section will be managed by a new Knowledge Centre on Cancer as the part of EU’s in-house science service. This Centre will be the head of the project, handling the difficulties with plan design and setting the main guidelines.
The EU’s public private partnership with Innovative Medicines Initiative in a field of medical researches, by the end of the year will implement the AI in the health care system for prevention, detection and treatment of cancer patients.
The European Health Data Space will provide the cancer patient portfolio and other information across borders in the EU. This project will be set up by 2025 and also allow collecting statistical information in cancer patient service.
The economical aspect of this program is explained with the concept “The prevention program costs €4 billion for 5 years plan and the cure will cost approximately €100 billion a year across the EU”. More importantly the health care system will battle hopefully very successful the second cause of deaths after the cardiovascular diseases.
The main problem in Europe is the access to health care, the rate of women at the age of 50-69 who had a mammogram in some countries is 82%, while in some others is only 0,2%.
A cancer inequality registry will be set up by 2022 to help member states identify problem areas and where to direct support, Kyriakides said.
Even though the 2020 top priority was COVID-19 pandemic situation, the cancer death rate doubled. The pandemic has affected cancer care, disrupting treatment, delaying diagnosis, and affecting access to medicines.
EU 2021 Cancer moonshot
The centre of the EU’s cancer as a template used the US Cancer Moonshot from 2016 to develop the more effective cancer treatment. But Trump this federal Moonshot programme funded with only $1.8 billion by year.
The EU Mission on Cancer, part of the €95.5 billion Horizon Europe science programme, will be investing up to €2 billion over the next seven years. Other Beating Cancer plan financers will include the EU health programme, called EU4Health, and the Digital Europe programme which will invest up to €250 million for cancer-related digital projects. Otherwise the EU4Health will put the focus on cancer prevention through applications that teach population about cancer risks and how to minimized that risk factors.
On the other hand the Euratom nuclear research programme will work on getting the best treatment for cancer patients by improving the radiotherapy.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the Horizon Europe programme that provides grants for work and research placements, will continue developing cancer researchers’ skills.
Digitalizing the cancer prevention will be supported by forming new mobile healthcare units for cancer screening, or new laboratory diagnostics. This is very important for the rural communities especially in this pandemic situation which makes access to the healthcare system even more restricted.
The project funding is more than the 2020 investment in cancer-related research projects which had a budget over €1 billion so it is a promising success.
More data, more sharing
The pandemic situation with COVID-19 treatment set up the question „What can we do to shorten the time for testing the existing molecules and new drug combinations?“
First of all we will need the data base concept such as the initiative ‘Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All’ which will by next generation sequencing tumour cells make improvement in cancer research and support the use of future of cancer treatment – the target therapies for particular genetic defects.
Getting the National Comprehensive Cancer Centres in every member country to work more closely together is a key part of the plan. “We need to bring all of this together,” Kyriakides said. But they are concerned about the collaboration among researchers because the network connection between 27 national centres will be set up by 2025.
This network will have similar concept as the one from European Reference Networks, which were set up in 2017 to allow clinicians to pool their knowledge of rare diseases.
The European Initiative to Understand Cancer –want the main benefit of this prevention program to be the identification the individuals at high risk.
Supportive healthcare system for cancer survivors
The cancer is exhausting process not only physically but emotionally and taking the analysis results, documents and going through their own cancer story again and again is very painfully.
Beating Cancer plan is trying to do their best with the ‘Cancer Survivor Smart-Card’ which has all clinical history and aid follow-up care. It will be an application connecting patient with the doctors.
Also that kind of information will be used in forming a wider pool of data for researchers and for the plan to set public health targets. The focus is on dropping the tobacco use down by 20 per cent in the EU by 2040, and harmful drinking to drop 10 per cent in the same period.
Because of this cancer risk factors which can be minimized, the EU will require member states to put new warning labels on alcohol, and to promote healthy lifestyle changes.