Brussels, 20 Sep 2002
EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin supported the creation of a European cancer research area when speaking at a Brussels conference on 19 September.
Mr Busquin believes that fragmentation and duplication of research across the EU mean that the considerable resources devoted to cancer research are not producing the results expected by both health practitioners and citizens. In addition to fragmentation, the Commissioner pinpointed regulatory conditions, intellectual property right provisions, the ageing research community and the lack of dialogue between science and society as factors hindering cancer research.
The solution, according to Mr Busquin, is the Sixth Framework programme (FP6). 'The European Commission is there to act as a catalyst and to support through the Framework programme and its political influence, actions and collaborations that have a structuring and structural impact,' he said.
For the first time, FP6 will explicitly cover clinical research. This will enable scientists working on pure research and on clinical research to work together in extensive networks of excellence and integrated projects, two of the new instruments under FP6. This should facilitate the conversion of scientific breakthroughs into applications and action, which will benefit patients faster. EU funds will be used to assess new therapies or validate molecular targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Mr Busquin explained that FP6 will also support smaller scale projects, which could examine specific aspects of cancer research. He also pointed to the increased budget for researcher mobility under FP6, which will enable EU Member States to attract the best researchers in the world, he said.
While no figures for the EU as a whole are available, statistics do show that 240,000 new cases of cancer are detected every year in France alone. Cancer is also responsible for 24 per cent of all deaths in the UK.
For further information, please consult the following web address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/info/ conferences/cancer/cancer_en.html