September 28. 2023. 6:12

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Announcement: CAN.HEAL – getting faster wins against cancer more widely, for patients and society 

The huge advances in diagnosis and treatment brought by rapid advances in science and technology have brought significant improvements, backed by major investments in research and the numerous initiatives and projects and actions that have been set up around the world.

But the outcome is still sub-optimal, and cancer continues to ravage society in Europe and beyond.

CAN.HEAL, a programme funded by the EU, is driving a radical commitment to collaborate across disciplines and territories not just to advance innovation, but to bring it speedily into effective use in healthcare systems.

Cancer care can now be tailored to the specific needs of individual patients, but this approach has to be nitrated into healthcare systems so that patients – and healthcare finances – obtain the resulting benefits.

The adoption of innovative medical interventions can provide better treatment and prevent undesirable adverse reactions, at the same time as fostering a more efficient and cost-effective healthcare system that focuses on prevention as well as treatment.

The novelty of CAN.HEAL is that it is creating unprecedented connections between the world of clinical science and the world of public health. It is aiming to provide a bridge between two flagships of the European Beating Cancer Plan –’Access and Diagnostics for All’ and ‘Public Health Genomics’ – so that cutting-edge developments in preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer become available faster and more widely.


The moment is right, since European healthcare is undergoing a once-in-a-generation change, with scientific advances accompanied by profound revision of the policy context. Opportunities open up for new thinking and new approaches as the regulatory framework undergoes re-evaluation, with discussions moving ahead on new pharmaceutical legislation, sharing of health data and the battle against antimicrobial resistance.

What has become increasingly clear is that an implementation gap exists between what could be done and what is being achieved, and – as the European Commission has been insistent in its reviews of policy, new forms of cooperation are needed. The next stage is to bridge the implementation gaps that exist at country level, in terms of commitment and national readiness to fund innovation and its use.

In pursuit of the necessary closer understanding, CAN.HEAL brought more than 100 stakeholders together at its first working conference, on Wednesday and Thursday April 26-27, at Italy’s National Institute of Health in Rome.

Alongside scientists and clinicians, participants included public health decision makers, representatives of the Commission, Members of the European Parliament, patient organisations, and European umbrella organizations representing interest groups and associations actively engaged in the field.

Van den Bulcke concluded the two-day meeting with the confident statement that "We are now in a place where together we can begin to create new solutions."

Reducing Disparities Across the European Union – a High-level Stakeholder Conference
Wednesday, 26 April, Thursday, 27 April

The project is funded by the European Commission EU4Health Programme 2021-2027 under Grant N° 101080009

For more information, please contact:

Els Van Valckenborgh (project manager): [email protected]

Denis Horgan (WP LEAD): email address [email protected]

To see the CAN.HEAL website, please click here:

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