Brussels, 11 Oct 2004
UK Health Secretary John Reid and French Minister for Research François d'Aubert have launched a new initiative to boost research into novel cancer treatments.
The two countries announced their decision to provide 1.6 million euro a year to fund 15 international fellowships during the Entente Cordial Cancer Research Summit in London on 9 October. The funds will promote cooperation between researchers from France, the UK, the US and Canada, allowing them to work in laboratories outside their home country to advance research into new and better treatments for cancer patients.
'Cancer remains a top priority for the government and we are making real progress in fighting one of Britain's biggest killers - since 1997 death rates for under 75s have fallen by over ten per cent,' said Mr Reid in a statement. 'This new funding will mean that our top scientists can share their expertise and knowledge with cancer specialists in France, the US and Canada to develop new and better treatments and help save even more lives'.
The UK's Department of Health and the French National Cancer Institute (INCa) will each provide 325,000 euro annually to fund UK/French fellows. The UK will also commit 492,000 euro to fund six UK/US fellows and three UK/Canadian fellows in cooperation with the US National Cancer Institute and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
'The launch of these Joint Research Fellowships in Translational Cancer Research shows that our countries are united in our determination to tackle a disease that kills over 6.2 million people worldwide each year,' said professor David Kerr, director of the UK's National Translational Cancer Research Network (NTRAC). 'I can think of no better way of celebrating the Entente Cordiale than with this initiative to boost transnational cancer research. One of the aims of NTRAC is to provide a forum for global learning and to improve collaborations with other countries such as the rest of Europe, the USA and Canada. The joint fellowship scheme is one excellent way of meeting this aim,' he added.
'This is the first joint programme signed by INCa - a new national institution created by President Jacques Chirac to coordinate, evaluate, accredit and finance all aspects of an ambitious, patient-orientated cancer control programme,' said Professor David Khayat, Director of INCa. 'It underlines our willingness to seek partnerships in Europe and beyond in the war on cancer. The fellowships are for young investigators, and this is especially important because so many hopes rest on the abilities of future generations to develop new concepts and ideas to fight cancer more efficiently.'
The three year fellowships will begin in the autumn of 2005.