Cancer continues to present one of the key public health challenges in the European Union. Over the last 8 years, we have seen an intensification of the activities at the level of the European Union in order to tackle cancer from different aspects. Still, a number of important outstanding issues in cancer control remain unaddressed. The Innovative Partnership for Action Against Cancer (iPAAC), which has been selected for funding under the Third Health Programme 2014–2020, aims to build upon the outcomes of previous EPAAC and CANCON Joint Actions.
The IOV was involved in the following WPs:
WP 5: Cancer Prevention
WP 6: Genomics in Cancer Control and Care
WP 9: Innovative Therapies in Cancer
WP 10: Governance of Integrated and Comprehensive Cancer Care
- Support for Member States in implementing recommendations from the CANCON Joint Action at national, regional and local levels
- Reinforcing of cancer prevention
- Providing better efficacy for dealing with neglected cancers
- Supporting the introduction of Immunotherapies into clinical practice
- Evaluation of cancer care in European countries
- Support for policymakers in the field of governance
- Support evidence-based cancer care by enhancing population-based information systems
The general objective of the iPAAC Joint Action (JA) is to develop innovative approaches to advances in cancer control. The innovation that will be covered within the JA consists of further development of cancer prevention, comprehensive approaches to the use of genomics in cancer control, enhancing cancer information and registries, improvements and challenges in cancer care, anticipation of challenges with innovative cancer treatments and governance of integrated cancer control, including a new analysis of national cancer control plans.
The results of the activities performed within the iPAAC Joint Action are available in the website https://www.ipaac.eu and include:
- the documents produced within the Work Packages 5-10
- the proceedings of the meetings
- the ROADMAP on implementation and sustainability in cancer control policy, identified from experiences in EU countries, and iPAAC thematic Work Packages 5-10
- the roadmap represents the synthesis of all the activities, is an on-line repository, and the information is provided as “ONE-PAGERS” describing implementation steps, barriers and lessons learned.
Description of the main WP results the IOV was involved in
WP 5: Cancer prevention
Up to 40% of cancer cases diagnosed can be prevented through practices and actions targeted at the individual and population levels. Primary prevention comprehends lifestyle modifications and vaccination programmes, while secondary prevention is now represented by organized cancer screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancers, as indicated in the European Code Against Cancer. The activities on cancer prevention of the WP5 have produced documents on early diagnosis, new openings of cancer screening (for lung and prostate cancers), future actions on primary prevention, and recommendations for the sustainability and monitoring of the Code:
- Strong efforts for the implementation of the available preventive measures in all the European countries are urgently needed.
- Risk-adjusted protocols can improve the efficacy of the three active cancer screening programmes; cervical screening in HPV-vaccinated women is an example of risk stratification, and an Italian One-Pager has been prepared on this topic.
WP 6: Genomics in Cancer Control and Care
IOV Researcher: Dr. Arcangela De Nicolo, Scientific Directorate – Cancer Genetics Program
Within the framework of the iPAAC WP6 activities, Dr. De Nicolo contributed to the development of the pilot distance training Oncogenomics for health professionals, addressed to physicians and biologists. The course aimed at improving knowledge, attitude, and practice of healthcare professionals on the fundamental principles of genetics and on the main applications of current genomic technologies in clinical oncology. The learning method, inspired by the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach, encouraged the participants to identify their learning goals by analyzing a problem linked to their professional setting. Video lessons, reading and learning materials guided participants to solve the problem. The course, held in English and with an estimated duration of 16 hours, was delivered through the platform www.eduiss.it (from April 8 to December 13, 2021).
WP 9: Innovative therapies in cancer
Today, plenty of new drugs are available for cancer treatment. In particular, immunotherapies play a pivotal role, showing an improvement of overall survival. Unfortunately, before innovative therapies’ marketed access, it must be forecast their impact on therapeutic, organizational and economic strategies. WP9 is focused on correct use of immunotherapies, deepening the study of clinical practices and monitoring to allow the good use of these drugs, according to guidelines; these actions should improve health expenditure as well. Few countries use systems to monitor drugs, like Horizon Scanning. The aim is to promote the use of such systems among member states to better assess the innovative cancer therapies. The objectives were as following:
- to map existing national guidelines on innovative treatments on cancer;
- to identify and validate predictive biomarkers;
- to implement Horizon Scanning activities;
- to follow innovative treatments after marketed authorization in the current use.