The EACR promotes CGI-Clinics at the EU Parliament – Implementing Cancer Personalised Medicine at National Level

On 21 March 2023, representatives from the EACR attended a one-hour event promoting the CGI-Clinics project at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the implementation of personalised medicine in cancer treatment at the national level.

The EACR is leading the communication for the exciting CGI-Clinics project, which aims to build a bioinformatics tool that will systematise cancer genome interpretation across Europe.

The event aimed to address known policy and service delivery barriers that prevent greater access to personalised medicine for cancer patients in Europe. Attendees included medical professionals, patient associations, policy-makers and the general public.

Chaired by MEP Dolors Montserrat (EPP, Spain) and Tomislav Sokol (EPP, Croatia), the event began with an overview of the CGI-Clinics project and its relevance in policy-making, followed by a multistakeholder panel discussion on the current policy status and challenges of implementing personalised oncology at the national level, between medical oncologists, patient associations and policy-makers in Europe.

In the welcome note, MEP Tomislav Sokol who is also the co-rapporteur on the European Health data Space (EHDS) file for the ENVI committee, acknowledged the importance of personalised medicine to improve patient outcomes, saying that “Europe is lagging behind in commercialised research that can bring concrete benefits for patients, and this is something we need to change. Personalised medicine is the future of improving cancer care and achieving better health outcomes.”

From left to right: Denis Horgan (Executive Director at European Alliance for Personalised Medicine), Olivia Tort (CGI-Clinics Project Manager), MEP Dolors Montserrate (EPP, Spain), Pierre Saintigny, (Medical Oncologist at Centre Lutte Contre le Cancer Léon Bérard), Ana Fernandez-Marcos (Cancer Advocacy Director at Asociación Española Contra el Cancer)

As an example of national implementation of personalised medicine, “CGI-Clinics aspires to push forward the community-driven European automated tool for cancer genome interpretation. The project will channel efforts into equity (versatile and adapted to all sized hospitals), innovation (it solves mutations of unknown significance and can process large datasets), and patient data sharing as a central pillar for the benefit of future patients and society.” explained Olivia Tort, CGI-Clinics project manager at IRB Barcelona.

MEP Dolors Montserrat, who was a member of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA), moderated the discussion panel and spoke about how health is moving to the centre of EU policies over the next decade, offering great opportunities for the Parliament to improve outcomes for cancer patients. She noted that “For cancer patients, it’s not just about getting treatment. It’s also about the impact of the disease on their lives socially, economically. It’s very important for us to include this human point of view in health policymaking, not just the medical.”

About the event, Adela Maghear, Senior EU Affairs Manager at the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), one of the CGI-Clinics project partners, commented “Europe is living a digital momentum now with the recent publication by the European Commission of the EHDS regulation. And one of the main objectives of this regulation is to support the use of health data for better healthcare delivery, better research, innovation and policy-making. And CGI-Clinics will bring its contribution to achieving objectives as such while putting patients at the core of the digital momentum.”

The event was well-attended, with attendees from across Europe and beyond joining in person and virtually. It provided a valuable opportunity for stakeholders to come together and discuss the challenges and opportunities of personalised medicine in cancer treatment.

From left to right: Pierre Saintigny, (Medical Oncologist at Centre Lutte Contre le Cancer Léon Bérard), Olivia Tort (CGI-Clinics Project Manager), Denis Horgan (Executive Director at European Alliance for Personalised Medicine), MEP Dolors Montserrate (EPP, Spain), Adela Maghear (Senior EU Affairs Manager at the European Cancer Patient Coalition), and Ana Fernandez-Marcos (Cancer Advocacy Director at Asociación Española Contra el Cancer)

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CGI-Clinics is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.