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The strategy for the upcoming framework program, Horizon Europe 2021-2027, revolves around 5 missions to be accomplished: adaptation to climate change; health of the oceans, seas and coastal and continental waters; smart cities; soil and food health; and cancer. This last category encompasses more than 200 diseases, all of which share abnormal, uncontrolled cell growth. In 2018, more than 3 million new cases were recorded in the 28 countries that were part of the EU then, prior to Brexit.

When the European Commission (EC) proposed this mission to combat cancer, it asked for an expert committee in fields like research, innovation, policy, healthcare management, and healthcare to come up with an ambitious proposal that would have a measurable impact on people's health along with a series of executable proposals.

An open, participative process at different levels helped bring together the different visions. The European Parliament will vote on the mission's final proposal in December 2020, but the preliminary report was published in June, entitled Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible; Interim report of the Mission Board for Cancer. This report will be studied by the EC and debated at the 2nd edition of the Research and Innovation Days from September 22 to 24. The document will also serve as the foundation for a variety of participative activities open to citizens around Europe aimed at defining the actions and strategies needed to attain this objective.

In Catalonia, oncology is one of the main areas in the BioRegion. The ecosystem encompasses the entire value chain in the field, from basic research (currently 81 oncology projects) to the creation of new companies (52). In the field of clinical trials, the BioRegion currently has 25 molecules in the pre-clinical phase and 8 in the clinical phase from Cebiotex, Hospital Clínic, VCN Biosciences, Ability Pharma, Mosaic Biomedicals, ASCIL Biopharm, GP Pharm and Oryzon Genomics.


13 expert recommendations

The objective published by the expert committee is “to save more than 3,000,000 lives and for survivors to live longer and better by 2030”. To achieve this, the report issues 13 recommendations:

1) To launch the pan-European platform, which uses relevant infrastructures and invests in the development of new models and technologies that inquire into the interaction between cancer and the host organism.

2) To develop a European program to identify individual cancer risk with fine-tuned algorithms.

3) To promote strategies and policies in favor of prevention.

4) To optimize screening programs and develop new approaches to early detection.

5) To advance and implement personalized medicine strategies for all cancer patients in Europe.

6) To develop a pan-European research program on early diagnostic and minimally invasive technologies.

7) To develop a pan-European research program and support policies to improve the quality of life of cancer patients and the people around them.

8) To create a European cancer patient digital center where data can be deposited for personalized care.

9) To achieve cancer health equity in the EU across the continuum of the disease.

10) To set up a network of cancer-related infrastructures in all the member states to increase the quality of research.

11) To cure more cancers in children and adolescents, and to cure them better.

12) To accelerate innovation and implementation of new technologies and to create oncology-centered living labs.

13) To transform cancer culture.


Download the Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible; Interim report of the Mission Board for Cancer report.

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