Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible
Horizon Europe will incorporate, as a new element, research and innovation missions. One of the five missions is the Mission on Cancer. Each mission has a board of 15 experts, including a Chair, and is supported by a secretariat.
In June 2020 the interim report on the cancer mission was published. The report served as the basis for further discussion and engagement to ensure that the proposed mission is relevant and will make a real difference. At the European Research and Innovation Days in September 2020, the board of experts presented its recommendations to the Commission.
Cancer is one of Europe’s five major societal challenges and the projection is that, without strong action, the number of diagnosed cases will increase by a fourth by 2035. Across Europe, the possibility of receiving a timely cancer diagnosis and of surviving the disease differs considerably because of inequalities in access to knowledge, prevention, diagnostics, treatments and care. The Mission on Cancer aims to save more than 3 million lives, improve life expectancy, achieve a thorough understanding of cancer, prevent what is preventable, optimise diagnosis and treatment, support the quality of life of all people exposed to cancer and ensure equitable access to the above across Europe.
In healthcare – including research, prevention, treatment, and monitoring – regional and local authorities are vital actors as they lead, promote, and financially support research and innovation agendas, while also acting as health and care providers. Regions can be key in developing effective cancer prevention strategies and optimising existing screening programmes as recommended in the mission outline. Through their ecosystem, regions are closely connected to both professionals and research centres and institutes specialised in cancer and of course, to citizens to engage them in accomplishing this mission.
In July 2020, the Health WG organised a webinar to discuss the development of the Mission on Cancer with one of the Mission Board members. Following this, in October 2020 ERRIN's Health WG developed and released a joint statement with EUREGHA calling for the regional dimension of the Mission to be clearly defined and included in its design and implementation.
Next steps: In 2021, the Health WG continues to follow the Mission closely and is anticipating the publication of the implementation plan during EU R&I Days 2021.