Cancer Core Europe—a consortium to address the cancer care/research continuum challenge, has launched. Its members are Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus Grand Paris; Cambridge Cancer Center, based in the U.K.; Karolinska Institute, of Stockholm, Sweden; the Netherlands Cancer Institute; Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), of Barcelona, Spain; and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and its National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT).
The optimal treatment of cancer remains one of the major medical challenges globally due to the high diversity in the spectrum of mutations in individual cancer patients. To tackle this issue, cancer programs must be better integrated and performed at a large scale. European cancer research is therefore in need of a transformative initiative whereby a consortium of comprehensive cancer centers of excellence will work collectively in order to carry out joint translational and clinical research in cancer treatment and care.
As a working consortium, Cancer Core Europe will be a translational platform to make the bridge "bench-to-bedside and bedside-to-bench" also for conducting next-generation clinical trials focused on proof-of-concept, companion predictive and resistance monitoring biomarkers.
The prerequisites for joint translational and clinical research programs are very demanding. They require a powerful translational platform that integrates all patient files using a common software platform that federates the databases from each of the centers; inter-compatible clinical molecular profiling laboratories with a robust underlying computational biology pipeline; standardized functional and molecular imaging; commonly agreed SOPs for liquid and tissue biopsy procurement, storage and processing, for molecular diagnostics, "omics," functional genetics and immune-monitoring; a culture of data collection; and storage that facilitates complete longitudinal data sets.
Cancer Core Europe will be able to support the full spectrum of research required to address the cancer research/care continuum. Cancer Core Europe also constitutes a unique environment for the training of up-and-coming talents in innovative translational and clinical oncology.
Yearly, within the Cancer Core Europe consortium, around 60,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients are seen, 300,000 cancer treatments are delivered and about one million outpatient visits are performed. More than 1,500 clinical trials are being conducted at these six cancer centers annually. Together with the strengths in basic and translational cancer research, this represents a unique critical mass of activity that once successfully harmonized as one operational clinical research structure will represent and harness a major force in European cancer research.
“Our understanding of cancer is increasing faster than ever before, and over the next decade or so I believe that this will lead to a revolution in how physicians treat patients. This network will lead that revolution,” said Dr. Patrick Maxwell, Regius professor of physic and head of the School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge.
"The understanding of the science that drives cancer growth is leading to rapid and significant changes in how we need to approach the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients with cancer. If we are to be successful in bringing revolutionary new treatment regimens to patients quickly, it will require this kind of collaboration across cancer centers. AZ Oncology looks forward to also collaborating with Cancer Core Europe to help deliver this revolutionary vision,” said Susan Galbraith, head of oncology, AstraZeneca.