What is the European Academy of Cancer Sciences, and why does it matter?
The European Academy of Cancer Sciences (EACS) is an independent advisory body of eminent oncologists and cancer researchers. It places science at the core of its policies to reduce, at an affordable cost, death and suffering caused by cancer throughout Europe. The EACR supports the aims of the EACS and has provided administrative support as it seeks to develop and grow.
In practical terms, the Academy is a virtual body of more than 240 elected Fellows from across Europe. In January 2019, EACR Past President Anton Berns became President of the Academy. He outlined in a letter to Fellows the aims for his Presidency at a crucial time for cancer research funding in Europe. He is ambitious for the EACS to increase its influence at the heart of European cancer policy by contributing independent, authoritative and evidence-based advice to EU decision-makers.
As the EU’s latest Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020 draws to a close and plans for its successor, Horizon Europe, are finalised, some recent activities of the EACS are worth highlighting. The EACS published a paper detailing its vision and mission in autumn 2018 (https://doi.org/10.1002/1878-0261.12379) providing an overview of where the Academy believes efforts in the continuum of cancer research should head and encouraging the EU and its member states to formally launch a mission in cancer to boost and streamline this continuum in Europe.
In collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the EACS organised a Conference at the Vatican in November 2018, “A mission-oriented approach to cancer in Europe: Boosting the social impact of innovative cancer research”. The final report of the Conference was published in March 2019 and can be viewed in full at https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/18780261/2019/13/3.
‘Cancer’ identified as key mission of Horizon Europe
It is pleasing to note that “Cancer” is now identified as one of five ‘missions’ for Horizon Europe (the others being climate change, oceans, carbon neutrality, and food). The exact details of each mission are still to be determined, and the EACS will intensify its efforts to positively influence cancer policies in Europe. That is, not only to ensure that cancer retains the attention of EU politicians, hopefully resulting in appropriate support for an EU-wide initiative, but also to make sure that such assistance is effectively used to advance the field. Primary and secondary prevention, early detection, development of new treatment paradigms, as well as outcome research, should in the end, provide patients throughout Europe with good access to quality cancer care at an affordable cost.
In the coming months, the EACS board will meet to discuss and propose a number of specific action items that the Academy will focus in the coming years. The EACR and EACS share several common goals and we look forward to working alongside the Academy over the next months and years.