Cancer is a worldwide health burden and a major public health challenge. With an estimated 9.6 million deaths worldwide in 2018, it is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the second leading cause of death globally. In Europe, with more than 3.9 million new cases and 1.9 million deaths each year, cancer is the most important cause of death and morbidity after cardiovascular diseases, a situation that is expected to worsen with population ageing in the next decades.
Despite significant advances in the understanding, prevention, diagnostics and treatment, cancer remains a public health problem in Europe and the world. In view of this, translational cancer research, defined as a coherent cancer research continuum, is needed in order to efficiently address the increasing burden of cancer.
The great potential of translational cancer research in Europe will only be achieved when the main barriers are systematically addressed through concerted actions between public and private organisations that provide funds for research, researchers, healthcare providers and all those engaged in the cancer research spectrum.
Moreover, adequate and systematic financial support backed by a strong political commitment is absolutely essential to help reduce the burden of cancer that European citizens are currently facing.
TRANSCAN-3 recognises that, in the fight against cancer, the strengthening of translational cancer research remains a high-priority in order to achieve the integration of basic, epidemiological, preclinical and clinical cancer research with the implementation and evaluation of interventions in prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and care.
In this context, the TRANSCAN-3 network, with a strong background in funding cancer research, embodies an excellent model of cross-national cooperation by bringing together 31 funding organisations, from 20 countries, with the common goal of supporting high-impact translational cancer research through cross-national joint calls for proposals, and by an efficient investment of dedicated national/regional public funding, leveraged with foundation/charity-based resources and EU financial support.
Building up on the well-established cooperation amongst the participating funding organisations, through the harmonisation of funding mechanisms and programmes, plus the access to and sharing of data on cancer research, this new TRANSCAN-3 action aims at becoming a catalyst for a sustainable model of funding of cancer research in Europe, with an approach driven by what is beneficial to cancer patients and to society as a whole.
[ 2] Ferlay J, Colombet M, Soerjomataram I, Dyba T, Randi G, Bettio M, Gavin A, Visser O, Bray F. Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: estimates for 40 countries and 25 major cancers in 2018. Eur J Cancer. 2018 Nov;103:356-387.
 U. Ringborg. Translational cancer research – a coherent cancer research continuum. Mol Oncol. 2019 Mar; 13(3): 517–520.