Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 200

Horizon 2020 is also supporting new
breakthroughs. The CANBUILD project, which
has received a €2.43m grant from the European
Research Council, will develop bioengineering
techniques to grow the first 3D human ‘tumour
microenvironment’ in the laboratory. Co-
ordinated by the UK’s Queen Mary University of
London, scientists will particularly focus on
creating the microenvironment of high-grade
serious ovarian cancer, a subtype that leads to
70% of all ovarian cancer deaths.
Despite the high cost to the UK of ovarian
cancer, the country, with the support of the EU,
is making major research breakthroughs in
tackling this devastating female disease. With
further developments being funded by
Brussels, support for hundreds of thousands
of suffering women can be realised.
“This drug offers new hope to women with advanced ovarian cancer by
targeting the weaknesses cancer cells have in repairing damaged DNA.
With clinical trial results showing this treatment has potential in other
types of cancer, we hope there will be more good news in the future.”
European praise
The European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ENGAGe) aims to
‘improve the health and wellbeing of European women with
gynaecological (genital and breast) cancers through prevention,
excellence in care, high quality research and education’. The
organisation, established in 1983, represents over 1,800 gynaecological
oncology professionals.
Speaking about the AstraZeneca breakthrough, Dr John Green, chair of
ENGAGe and senior lecturer at the Institute of Translational Medicine at
the University of Liverpool, UK, commented: “It is fantastic news that
Lynparza will now be available for women with advanced relapsed
BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer. This is a devastating disease which has
a profound impact on patients and their families.
“Women with a BRCA mutation are especially at risk and there has been
a significant need for new treatment options with novel modes of action.
The development of a targeted treatment like Lynparza is an excellent
example of pioneering research being translated into a treatment that
has the potential to transform the lives of patients.”
EU research funding
The European Commission is also playing its role to tackle ovarian cancer.
The Epigenetics for Female Personalised Cancer Care project, funded
by the Seventh Framework Programme, aims to develop techniques to
better screen patients for both ovarian and breast cancer, as well as
assisting in providing patients with personalised medicine. Consequently,
the project seeks to ‘establish and clinically validate a series of blood
tests based upon DNA methylation technology that will facilitate both
early detection and prediction of therapeutic outcome in breast and
ovarian cancer’. The venture is co-ordinated by University College
London, UK.
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O N C O L O G Y
The European
Commission has
several schemes to
authorise medical drug
use in multiple EU
member states
© Sébastien Bertrand
Medical authorisation
An EU procedure for the certification of medicinal products for use in
humans and animals was introduced in 1995. According to the
Commission, the process allows for ‘safe, effective and high quality
medicines … to quickly be made available to citizens’. Whilst
national authorisation is still available for drugs and other medical
products, EU approval means that drugs can benefit many more
patients throughout Europe.
The ‘centralised procedure’ is required for ‘products derived from
biotechnology, for orphan medicinal products and for medicinal
products for human use which contain an active substance
authorised in the community … after 2004’. The procedure is
particularly targeted towards tackling AIDS, cancer,
neurodegenerative disorders and diabetes.
A second process, entitled ‘mutual recognition procedure’, is based
on the identification ‘of an already existing national marketing
authorisation by one or more EU member states’. This particular
procedure applies to the majority of medicinal products in the EU.
The final procedure sees at least two EU member states co-operate
in the drug authorisation process. Known as the ‘decentralised
procedure’, the process sees a number of countries simultaneously
submit an application for marketing authorisation, with one member
state designated as the ‘reference’ country. Once the process has
been completed, all EU member states involved in the application
receive authorisation.
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