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U.S. Outspends Europe on Cancer Research

Survey cites need to double funding

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The European Union will lose cancer researchers to other countries and suffer a decline in the quality of care for cancer patients unless it doubles its funding for cancer research, according to a new survey.

The European Cancer Research Funding Survey found that:

  • European countries spend seven times less per person on cancer research than the United States -- a funding gap much wider than previously believed.
  • There is insufficient funding for preventive and clinical research, while funding for basic scientific research is proportionately much higher.
  • Europe is weak in its overall support of cancer research.
  • Charitable organizations fund more than half of cancer research in Europe.

"The EU is massively behind the USA in support of non-commercial cancer research. This gap is a substantial threat to the ability of the EU to translate cancer research into patient benefit," Dr. Richard Sullivan, chair of the European Cancer Research Managers Forum, which conducted the survey, said in a prepared statement.

"Also threatened is the ability to recruit and retain clinicians and scientists to work in cancer research, as well as the commercial attractiveness of the EU," Sullivan said. "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."

Professor Gordon McVie, senior consultant to the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, described the report as "a clarion call to the European Commission to increase funding for cancer research."

"The survey shows that Europe is a second-class continent in terms of cancer research funding," McVie said. "We know that cancer research leads to better cancer care for the patient, and so it is vital that it is properly funded in Europe. I estimate that 10,000 to 20,000 more lives would be saved each year through better patient care if funding for cancer research was increased."

More information

The American Institute for Cancer Research has information about cancer prevention.

SOURCE: European Cancer Research Managers Forum, press release, March 30, 2005
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