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Prevention, early detection, and treatment could revolutionize Europe's health care – Commission implementation road map for EU Beating Cancer Plan published!

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Good morning, and welcome to the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) update. The Commission has published its implementation plan for the upcoming Europe Beating Cancer Plan, which EAPM will be following very closely, see below,
writes EAPM Executive Director Dr. Denis Horgan.

Commission publishes road map for EU Beating Cancer Plan

The fight against cancer, for many years one of the most intractable healthcare challenges, and still a major killer, is on the threshold of new victories. A combination of new science, new technology and new thinking is bringing within reach new possibilities of early diagnosis, effective treatment, and more sustainable allocation of healthcare resources

The European Commission has published an implementation road map for Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.

This new strategic document outlines, step by step, how the Commission intends to achieve the targets it set itself in the Cancer Plan.

The road map takes the various actions first proposed in the plan and breaks down objectives for each year between 2021 and 2025. It also provides a progress indicator to judge whether an action is being implemented successfully.

For example, a number of the actions in the cancer plan target cigarette smoking, with a goal of less than 5% of Europeans using tobacco by 2040. The plan also includes includes a proposal to eliminate cancers caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV), like certain cervical cancers, through large-scale vaccination campaigns. Under the roadmap, an EU Task Force for HPV vaccination would be established in 2022, followed by a first round of vaccination in 2023 and 2024.

A second round of this implementation plan will follow in 2025. The progress indicator is given as the number of EU member states progressing towards a vaccination target of 90 percent.

The road ahead….and the implementation plan

As EAPM has highlighted to the institutions at the EU and member state level, improving outcomes in cancer depends heavily on early diagnosis and accurate staging, permitting rapid appropriate treatment and reducing the risk of metastatic disease. Biosensors, radiogenomics, artificial intelligence, biomarkers and next-generation screening (NGS) are among the novel approaches that are making a reality of turning the tide on this deadly disease. The innovations also extend to management, with a shift towards multidisciplinary teams to speed and bring best expertise to case management.

The advances already allow a more personalized approach to treatment for patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer. Since no two persons are exactly the same, no patients’ tumours are exactly the same, and as understanding grows of the immunologic and oncogenic processes involved with lung cancer biology, management is being revolutionised. The discovery of specific targetable mutations and understanding of the pivotal role of immunosurveillance in suppressing malignant growth have allowed for the development of innovative therapeutic strategies.  Specific inhibitors targeting driver mutations and key immunological pathways confer survival benefits in metastatic lung cancer, with emerging data in early stage disease.

Cancer patients would also enjoy better experience with better provision for follow-up in real time of the multiple, simultaneous symptoms related to their disease and treatment that frequently impair functioning and quality of life. This is being made possible by developments in remote monitoring and personalized interventions. Computer technology can reduce barriers to non-systematic, infrequent symptom assessment and potentially contribute to improved patient care. Remote contact can permit intervention in the case of unrecognized or poorly controlled symptoms, reducing emergency department visits and hospitalizations for management as well as decreased treatment efficacy. Monitoring patient symptoms using mobile technology in the context of radiotherapy for lung cancer is feasible and acceptable in clinical practice. But there is a lack of interventions that explore the use of real-time technologies in this patient population, and more research is needed to identify patients most likely to benefit.

There is growing evidence that using digital health and collecting ePROs can provide benefits to patients, related both to clinical and to health economic endpoints. These digital solutions can be integrated into routine supportive care in oncology practice to provide improved patient-centered care.

Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by these novel approaches and the implementation plan would transform the lives of patients and the effectiveness of health systems.

And if correctly implemented, this plan could even allow healthcare spending and even national economics stand to gain from a reduction in the consequences of lung cancer. EAPM will be working with all stakeholders to ensure that the implementation plan is effectively implemented.

To see the implementation plan, please click here.

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COVID vaccine: Parental hesitancy for kids with cancer

A survey shows parents of kids with cancer have similar hesitancy rates as the wider population to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 Despite engagement with the medical system, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute found that nearly a third of parents expressed hesitancy to vaccinate their youngsters due to any potential danger posed to their kids. Kyle Walsh, Ph.D., senior author and associate professor in the departments of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at Duke said: “Part of the reason we wanted to survey about vaccine hesitancy in this group is that they have such frequent contact with the medical system, so we were looking for anything that might be potentially unique about this patient population that might set them apart. “And actually, the rates of hesitancy were quite high. We were surprised that it was not associated with vaccine acceptability.”

Of the 130 families which had completed the survey, 29% of caregivers expressed hesitancy to have their children with cancer receive the COVID-19 vaccine. That rate is slightly higher than the 25% reported among the broader population, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

Top EU official fires warning shot over UK data reform

The UK’s proposed reform of its data protection rulebook “raises questions” about the country’s continued alignment with EU rules, according to top European Commission’s data flows official Bruno Gencarelli.

Speaking at a conference, Gencarelli said Brussels is studying Britain’s proposed changes to see how they affect the legal bases for handling personal information as well as the independence of the country’s data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office.

A consultation by the UK government on changes to data protection rules closes on Friday. The Boris Johnson administration launched the proposal as part of a post-Brexit overhaul that aims to boost innovation in tech and artificial intelligence.

2022 Budget agreement reached

The European Parliament, Commission and Council on Tuesday (16 November) reached agreement on the EU’s 2022 budget, approving an envelope of €839.7 million for the EU4Health program. Agreement reached on 2022 EU budget The Council has reached an agreement with the European Parliament on the 2022 EU budget, setting total commitments at €169.5 billion and payments at €170.6bn. Next year’s budget strongly reflects the EU’s main priorities: economic recovery, fighting climate change, and the green and digital transitions. It also leaves enough resources under the expenditure ceilings of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework to allow the EU to react to unforeseeable needs. 

Some countries reeling ahead of another coronavirus winter

In much of Southern Europe, deaths, hospitalizations and cases are relatively low. It is a different story elsewhere on the continent. In some countries, people are dying from the virus at record rates. Elsewhere, infections are rising—but from low levels that policy makers say are the result of a suite of restrictive policies. Winter is the time of greatest peril in the fight against Covid-19 as people move indoors, often into poorly ventilated spaces, helping the virus to spread. Health systems are also often strained by other seasonal ailments, such as flu.

And that is everything from EAPM for now – have an excellent weekend, stay safe, see you soon.

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