Cancer research

Europe needs to double the amount it spends on cancer research, according to a new survey.

The European Cancer Research Funding Survey, funded by the European Commission, has found that EU Member States spend seven times less per person than the US, that there is insufficient funding for preventive and clinical research, and that Europe is weak in its overall support for cancer research, both centrally and at MemberState level.

The survey also noted that more than half of European cancer research is funded by the charitable sector, and that there are opportunities for increased collaboration and cooperation both between funders around the EU and between different research disciplines.

‘The EU is massively behind the USA in its support of non-commercial cancer research,’ said Richard Sullivan, Chair of the European Cancer Research Managers Forum.

‘It would appear that the problem lies both with a lack of central EU funding and with inequality between Member States, with many failing to support cancer researchers adequately in their own countries,’ he added.

According to the report, the US spends seven times more per person (17.63 Euros versus 2.56 Euros) and four times more as a percentage of GDP (0.0578% compared to 0.0163%) on cancer research.

The report also shows enormous variations in spending on cancer research across the EU in 2002 and 2003. For example, the UK spent 388 million Euro while Malta spent nothing. The European Commission contributed 90 million Euro. As a percentage of GDP, the UK spends the most (0.0267%), followed by Sweden, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

According to Dr. Sullivan, the Commission and national governments should urgently address the issue of the huge disparity in cancer research funding between Member States. National governments should increase their own funding, and the Commission should review its funding policy and aim to improve coordination and cooperation across the EU.

The survey goes on to show that the EU concentrates its funding on basic research at the expense of preventive and clinical research. Biology receives 41% of all cancer research funding, compared with 20% for treatment and 4% for prevention. In contrast, the US spends 25% on biology, 25% on treatment and 9% on prevention.

To access the full European Cancer Research Funding Survey, please visit: