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Safeguarding the future of independent, academic clinical cancer research in Europe for the benefit of patients
  1. Anastassia Negrouk1,
  2. Denis Lacombe2,
  3. Fatima Cardoso3,
  4. Franck Morin4,
  5. Eva Carrasco5,
  6. Joan Maurel6,
  7. Rudolf Maibach7,
  8. Enrique Aranda8,
  9. Richard Marais9,
  10. Rolf A Stahel10
  1. 1 International Policy Office, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC),Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 2 Director General, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Brussels, Belgium
  3. 3 Champalimaud Cancer Center, Lisboa, Portugal
  4. 4 French Cooperative Thoracic Intergroup (IFCT) – Groupes Cooperateurs en Oncologie (GCO), Paris, France
  5. 5 Grupo Español de Investigación en Cáncer de Mama (GEICAM), Scientific Director and CEO, Madrid, Spain
  6. 6 Grupo Espanol Multidisciplinar en Cancer Digestivo (GEMCAD), Medical OncologyDepartment, Hospital Clínic, Translational Genomics and Targeted Therapeuticsin Solid Tumors Group, IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  7. 7 International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) Coordinating Center, Bern, Switzerland
  8. 8 Spanish Cooperative Group for the Treatment of Digestive Tumors (TTD), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Cáncer (CIBERONC), InstitutoSanitario de Investigación Biomédica de Córdoba (IMIBIC), Medical OncologyDepartment, Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, Spain
  9. 9 European Association for Cancer Research (EACR), Department of Molecular Oncology at the University of Manchester and Directorof the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, Manchester, UK
  10. 10 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), Clinic of Oncology,University Hospital, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Anastassia Negrouk, International Policy Office, European Organisation for Research andTreatment of Cancer (EORTC) at av. Mounier 83/11, 1200 Bruxelles, Belgium; anastassia.negrouk{at}


Cancer is a complex disease that is constantly evolving. It is now the most common cause of death in Europe after cardiovascular diseases. There are inequalities among European countries, potentially unsustainable healthcare systems impacting quality of cancer care and increasing number of patients with cancer with rare conditions.

Clinical and translational research are the backbone in establishing scientific advances as novel treatments and advancing progress to the benefit of patients. Commercially sponsored clinical trials are responsible for developing new medicines that can treat various disease areas, including cancer. It is important to note, however, that these clinical trials only assess the viability of compounds that are chosen by a commercial entity that funds the entire process. By their design and focus, these trials need to fulfil commercial interests and market expectations, which do not always coincide with patients’ needs.

As soon or even before novel treatments and compounds obtain formal market authorisation, academia will take these existing and new medicines to further conduct research in order to optimise their use, develop new combinations and with a strong focus on the patients and their needs. Established standard of care most commonly relies on clinical cancer research stemming from non-commercial entities, cooperative groups or academic clinical research.

This article provides a consensus on the definition of academic research, illustrates its added value and suggests and calls to European Union institutions to support this type of research for the benefit of patients.

  • independent research
  • academic research
  • cancer
  • legal framework

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors All authors contributed equally.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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