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This is the ESTRO Public Affairs newsletter: a monitoring service offered by ESTRO to National Societies of the radiation oncology area to keep up-to-date with oncopolicy issues.


  1. Commissioner Moedas at the European Innovation Summit
  2. 6th European Innovation Summit: first impressions from Horizon 2020
  3. Update on the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network
  4. Commission publishes information on the call for proposals of the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease

     5.  HTA Network adopts its Strategy
     6.  Update Council: draft conclusions on Patient safety and quality of care   
     7.  E-health Network launched Guidelines on e-prescriptions 
     8.  Update medical devices: Presidency unable to reach agreement. Progress report published. 
     9.  EUROSTAT: 1 in 4 deaths caused by cancer in the EU28 –Lung cancer main fatal cancer
    10.  Cancer Stakeholders Update: ECPC

1. Commissioner Moedas at the European Innovation Summit 

At the occasion of the 6th European Innovation Summit, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation gave an inaugural speech on the ‘Three pillars of disruptive innovation for Europe’. These were 1) Adequate public and private funding of research, development and innovation; 2) A unified research area, open to the world, with firm foundations in the Internal Market; 3) A market environment quick to respond to innovation: making it easier for great ideas to become products and services, creating new markets and transforming existing ones (through disruptive innovation).  
He also assured that the Commission would be ‘tireless in its efforts to create the right conditions for European innovation to flourish’, that innovation touched every tiny aspect in our lives and that now in Europe ‘we need to champion innovation on an epic scale’. He further highlighted that despite an overall decrease in the EU budget in the run up to 2020, there was increased funding allocated to research and innovation. He however noted that the target to invest 3% of GDP in R&D was more important than ever and that Europe was still underinvesting in R&D.
He ended by assuring that the EC will help prioritising commercialisation by turning science into technology. He finally stated the time to analyse the results of the Innovation Union, had come and that the review had started. In this frame, there will be a stakeholders’ conference next year to ‘take stock and to continue the discussions on priorities for the future’.


2. 6th European Innovation Summit: first impressions from Horizon 2020

The 6th European Innovation Summit took place from 17 to 20 November 2014 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was the occasion to give first impressions on Horizon 2020: positive comments but also some concerns were expressed, namely regarding budget cuts and that a multi-funding approach would become a selection criterion.  
The programme of the Summit featured more than 25 conference sessions and discussions on topics of great importance for everyone working in the area of innovation and more than 100 high-level speakers from the European Parliament, the European Commission, the educational and the private sector. The motto of the this year’s edition was ‘A Mandate for Innovation in Europe’ highlighting the strong belief that innovation should be a top strategic priority in the new institutional cycle of the European Union and the center-piece of a revised Europe 2020 strategy.
Key stakeholders took this opportunity to give their first impressions on Horizon 2020. With a 80 billion euro budget and running over seven years, Horizon 2020 intended to be simpler than the previous programme. Participants in the 6th European Innovation Summit gave positive feedback on Horizon 2020, but speakers also drew attention to areas for improvement and serious concerns were raised about what potential budget cuts (currently under discussion between Parliament and Council) might mean for the programme.
On the operational side, there was a call for a two-stage application to reduce time burden for those who are not successful, so that they are not discouraged to try again.
With regard to funding, there was some concern among speakers and participants that a multi-funding approach would become a selection criterion. In this sense, Ms da Graca Carvalho -rapporteur in the Parliament for Horizon 2020- assured that Horizon 2020 would not be linked to regional funds but insisted that they could complement each other: ‘It should not be a criterion but we should make sure that there is a mechanism so that the multi-funding approach can happen. Regional funds can act upstream and downstream. We don’t want to link them but one way that they might complement each other is, for example, through a stamp of quality. We have high percentage of proposals that are excellent but do not get funding, and it could be easier for regions to finance them. However, something would need to be solved to achieve this because usually the results are not public.’
 ESTRO’s recommendations to the national societies 
  • National Societies to pay special attention on the discussions linked to regional funding possibilities in conjunction with H2020.

3. Update on the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network

The European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network is designed to facilitate multinational clinical studies and trials given that, despite efforts to simplify regulations, Europe is still a patchy scenario in what biomedical research regards. With most research-driven clinical trials conducted at national level, there are regulatory differences hampering effective cooperation between Member States. 
The Network contributes concretely to the structuring of clinical research capacity both at the national and European levels by developing common standards and tools, and pushing towards better harmonisation of procedures. Its ambitious aim is to develop a common pan-European culture among the clinical research professional and patient communities.
The European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network is currently supported by the EU project ECRIN-IA: on 25 November, DG Research of the European Commission published an update on the project that involves networks from 24 countries and will expand the consortium to 9 new countries. ECRIN-IA supports services for multinational clinical trials on rare diseases, medical devices and nutrition. It also develops tools for risk-adapted monitoring and will upgrade data management tools. The four-year project is backed by a €8 million European Commission grant.
Participants include: France (Coordinator), Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Belgium, Israel, Czech republic, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Turkey, Romania

4. Commission publishes information on the call for proposals of the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease

DG Research of the European Commission published in November information related to the call for implementation science proposals 2015 of The Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD). The 2015 call will focus on lung diseases, with a focus on intervention research in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) and/or in vulnerable populations in high income countries (HIC).  

The GACD brings together the world’s public research funding agencies, funding programmes into life-style related chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers, lung diseases and mental health).
Proposals must focus on lung diseases and they must have an implementation science focus. They must address what works, for whom, under what contextual circumstances and are the intervention(s) adaptable and scalable in ways that are accessible and equitable. Proposals should generate new knowledge on interventions and their implementation for the prevention and treatment of lung diseases in LMIC, and/or in vulnerable populations in HIC. Proposals must focus on existing approaches to prevention and control of lung diseases or develop treatments at lower costs. They should demonstrate a sound understanding of the local health system context as well as the global cross-sectorial context. The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 to 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Together, the members of the alliance represent 80% of public health research funding worldwide. The member organisations are:
  • Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
  • The U.K.’s Medical Research Council
  • The U.S.'s National Institutes of Health
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research
  • The South African Medical Research Council
  • The European Commission's Health Directorate in the Research & Innovation DG 
  • Mexico's National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán

5. HTA Network adopts its Strategy 

National authorities responsible for Health Technology Assessments (HTA), together forming the HTA Network, adopted a Strategy setting out the framework for European cooperation on HTA. The strategy’s scope is very broad as it entails pharmaceutical products, medical devices and other technologies and where HTA is widely applied from development to establishment.  
The strategic plans also will bring together HTA establishment with the related regulatory requirements and will make sure to address European cooperation in the global content.
The overall aim of supporting cooperation is avoiding duplication of work, increase quality of HTA production, promote capacity building, facilitate Information exchange and increase use of common or agreed methodologies.

6. Update Council: draft conclusions on Patient safety and quality of care

On 14 November the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) published the draft council conclusions on Patient Safety and Quality of care which are going to be adopted as final of 1 December. The text is a call to member states to take actions in the space of patient safety and to relevant authorities to foster implementation and monitoring of integrated patient safety strategies, including the prevention, surveillance and control of healthcare associated infection.  
The council conclusion encourage to step up the prevention, diagnosis, monitoring and control of healthcare associated infections and also call upon healthcare professional community to build an inter- professional patient safety culture.
The text also calls the commission to ensure coordination of EU activities on patient safety and quality of care, including treatment errors and healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance with the scientific support of relevant EU agencies.  Another focus is the monitoring of the implementation of the EU case definitions of healthcare associated infections and participation of Member States in EU surveillance of healthcare associated infections as coordinated by the ECDC
In the longer term the council expects a continuation of the EU action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance post 2017, including an emphasis on the prevention and control of healthcare associated infections.

7. E-health Network launched Guidelines on e-prescriptions

On 13 November the eHealth Network held its 6th meeting in Brussels, chaired by Austria and co-chaired by the European Commission. The meeting outcome was the adoption of guidelines on ePrescriptions for the purpose of interoperability between Member States. 
As electronic systems for medical description are in increasingly used, the Commission and the EU countries intend to ensure that this method can be used safely across MS: the guidelines lay out the type of data needed to share prescriptions across borders. They also describe how the data should be transferred, provided the patient gives his or her consent to use the ePrescription service. The guidelines can be used by Member States on a voluntary basis.

8. Update medical devices: Presidency unable to reach agreement. Progress report published.

The Italian Presidency has published the progress report on the Proposals for Regulations on Medical devices and In vitro diagnostic medical devices prepared by the Presidency with a view to the meeting of the Council (EPSCO) on 1 December 2014.  
The paper outlines the state of play of the negotiations in the Council. The Italian Presidency will not be able to finish its mandate having resolved this delicate dossier. After two years of negotiations, these aspects have been cause of disagreement:
  • aesthetic devices
  • ingested products
  • reprocessing of single-used devices
  • Unique Device Identification System
  • Mechanisms for surveillance and appointment of the Notified Bodies responsible for conformity assessment of medical devices
  • Scrutiny mechanism for certain high risk devices
  • Clinical investigations
  • Post-market surveillance
  • Tasks of the proposed medical device coordination group
  • Role of expert panels and reference laboratories
Some of these aspects are closer to an agreement than others, namely aesthetic devices, the surveillance mechanism and the unique device identification system the most contentious ones. 

9. EUROSTAT: 1 in 4 deaths caused by cancer in the EU28 –Lung cancer main fatal cancer

On 25 November, EUROSTAT – the EU statistics service – published a news-release on fatal cancer in Europe, with data from 2011.In the EU28, cancer was the cause of death for 1.281 million persons, responsible for more than a quarter of all deaths (26.3%). 
Over the past ten years, while the total number of deaths slightly decreased (-0.5%), the number of deaths due to cancer increased by 6.3% (from 1.206 million in 2002 to 1.281 million in 2011), at a slightly higher pace for females (+6.6%) than for males (+6.0%). However, the number of deaths due to cancer remained higher in 2011 among the male population than among the female population.
Cancer represented 37.1% of all causes of death for the EU28 population aged less than 65, while this level was only 23.8% for the older population.
Lung cancer was the main type of fatal cancer, followed by colorectal cancer, breast cancer, pancreas cancer and prostate cancer.

10. Cancer Stakeholders Update: ECPC

Read some updates regarding the latest actions of the ECPC (European Cancer Patients Coalition), on the field of Immuno-Oncology and Pancreatic Cancer. 
ECPC launches Immuno-Oncology Policy Action Framework

On 20 November, ECPC (European Cancer Patients Coalition) presented in the European Parliament the document ‘Immuno-Oncology: a Policy Action Framework’ and the related guide for patients on what immuno-oncology is.  
The event was hosted by MEP Philippe De Backer and MEP Christian Busoi.  It counted with 50 other participants representing the patients, physicians, researchers, industry and policy makers.
Please click here to access the presentations.

MEPs and ECPC launch Pancreatic Cancer Call to Action

On 13 November MEPs Philippe Juvin, Philippe De Backer, Françoise Grossetête and Daciana Sârbu officially launched in the European Parliament the the Call to Action "Giving a Voice to Pancreatic Cancer".
The event was organised by ECPC and counted with participation of Matthias Löhr (Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Karolinska Institute) and Antoni Montserrat (Policy Officer for cancer and rare diseases at DG SANCO of the European Commission).
Regarding the call to action, EPCP highlighted among the most important recommendations:
  • Ensuring pancreatic cancer is included in key European initiatives aiming at fighting cancer, with a focus on increasing research to better understand the disease, improving data collection, identifying tools for earlier diagnosis, providing educational programmes, and improving standard of care with a focus on active treatment; 
  • Ensuring that Member States include pancreatic cancer in their national cancer plans and in their health awareness programmes.
The ESTRO Public Affairs newsletter has been prepared in collaboration with Interel.
The full version of the Interel report / Volume 8 / December 2014 issue is available on the ESTRO website under DOVE. You just need to enter your member's login details to access the content.
Access the volume 8 / December report >

If you have any question on public affairs, please contact Chiara Gasparotto, ESTRO Public affairs manager

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