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Quick scan of cancer infrastructures in European countries.

Leemrijse, C., Kroneman, M., Hansen, J., Korevaar, J., Rijken, M. Quick scan of cancer infrastructures in European countries. Utrecht: Nivel, 2021. 45 p.
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As an integral part of the Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027), the European Commission has initiated the European Research and Innovation Mission on Cancer. The goal of this Mission is to save and improve the lives of millions of European citizens exposed to cancer and its risk factors. In designing the Mission, the European Commission appointed a Board of experts to specify the Mission’s objectives and to propose a coherent set of actions to achieve the Mission’s goal. One of the Mission recommendations concerns setting up a network of Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures (CCIs) within and across EU Member States to ensure that “each EU citizen or patient has access to, and could benefit from high-quality cancer research and care”.

To prepare for the implementation of the Board’s recommendation to set up a network of CCIs within and across all EU Member States, the European Commission requested the EUHealthSupport consortium to conduct a quick scan to get an overview of existing (networks of) CCIs within and across Member States, their structures, functions and research and care activities/priorities, and information about the quality standards they meet. Such an overview may illustrate which cancer infrastructures already meet the definition of ‘comprehensive’ as set by the Mission Board, whether there are others that show potential to develop towards a CCI and could become part of an EU wide network of CCIs in the future.

Equitable access to high-quality treatment and care, based on the most recent and advanced insights from scientific knowledge, for each cancer patient in the EU, can be facilitated by a strong network of collaborating CCIs within and across EU Member States. Although the number of internationally recognised, cancer-accredited CCIs is currently limited, cancer infrastructures that combine clinical treatment with scientific research have been identified in almost all EU Member States. Nevertheless, access to clinical trials for patients is not equally spread across the EU. Follow-up efforts in Member States and at EU level are needed to explore whether and how these cancer infrastructures could become part of an EU-wide network of collaborating CCIs that would make high-quality cancer treatment, care, research and education accessible to all patients and citizens in the EU.