The eCAN Joint Action (JA), along with PERCH, CraNE and JANE are the four cancer research initiatives that the EU4Health Programme has decided to include in its 2021-2027 Programme. The budget assigned to eCAN is near to 4 million euros and it will be devoted to strengthen eHealth including telemedicine and remote monitoring for health care systems, cancer prevention and care. Other three JA have also got grants to work in cancer prevention. Some others initiatives will focus on crisis preparedness, health systems and healthcare workforce.
These four cancer projects are conceived as individual initiatives that have common objectives and should create synergies. In this regard, the head coordinator of eCAN, Marc Van den Bulcke, believes that synchronisation among initiatives is one of the most important aspects in order to achieve the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan (EBCP) and the Cancer Mission’s goals.
All these projects are mostly related to digitalisation and eHealth, the backbones of the EBCP and the Cancer Mission. As the past president and chair scientific committee of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), Kathi Apostolidis, claimed during the eCAN kick-off meeting, “the digital transformation is expected to bring significant benefit for the health sector because as much of 30% of the world’s storage data is currently produced by health systems”. The EBCP and all the initiatives that have been born around it aim to make the most out of health data and digitalisation.
According to the leader of the EBCP, Matthias Schuppe, creating synergies among projects is a challenge for the organisations involved in the different JA. In order to overcome this issue, different levels of coordination are needed. The European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) plays a significant role in this regard. This institution implements the EU4Health Programme by managing calls for proposals and tenders from 2021 to 2027. On their side, Schuppe and his team have been able to gather all actions that are related to the plan implementation roadmap, providing periodical updates.
Disease Prevention Joint Actions
Along with eCAN, there are three other JA that aim to dig into disease prevention. PERCH (PartnERship to Constrat HPV) aims to support Member States’ efforts to extend the roll-out of routine HPV vaccination of girls and boys to eliminate cervical cancer and other cancers caused by HPV in the coming decade. The joint action will support the exchange of validated best practices between the EU countries to ensure a consistent and efficient roll-out of HPV vaccination.
CraNE (EU Network of Comprehensive Cancer Centres) is the third JA on disease prevention of the EU4Health Programme 2021-2027. This initiative will create an EU Network linking recognised National Comprehensive Cancer Centres (CCCs) in every Member State. CraNE will work in preparing the necessary preconditions, administrative, professional, and those related to high-quality performance.
Lastly, JANE (Joint Action on Network Expertise) is a new European knowledge network on cancer and cancer conditions that aim to generate and share knowledge in oncology among the European Member States. The European Commission is committed to the creation of seven Knowledge Networks that will cover crucial areas in cancer care, bringing together the best evidence and knowledge, and resources available in Europe in each specific field, in order to support National Networks and Comprehensive Cancer Centres.