Commission tackles global access to precision cancer treatments

Glasgow, Scotland

A team of experts from the University of Glasgow will lead a new international effort to improve cancer control and reduce global health inequalities. 

Spearheading the new Lancet Oncology Commission focused on cancer genomics and precision oncology, Glasgow researchers will lead an international team of experts over the next two years to create a blueprint for overcoming barriers and improving global access to personalised cancer care. 

The newly formed commission will start by examining some of the biggest challenges faced by healthcare systems and cancer clinicians worldwide for the widespread adoption of molecular testing in routine clinical care.  

The team of international experts will offer practical solutions to ensure sustainable and equitable access and advancement for cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

The commission will analyse the challenges that impede accumulation of health and genomic data that can be shared in an appropriate way to refine current best practice and inform ongoing therapeutic development. 

Director of ICGC ARGO Professor Andrew Biankin, Regius Chair of Surgery at the University of Glasgow, said: “The time has come to incorporate broad genomic testing in routine cancer care. This will improve outcomes by using current treatments better through predicting who they will work for and for whom they won’t before giving a treatment. This will avoid the use of ineffective treatments, minimising side-effects and costs and providing better access for patients to new treatments and clinical trials.” 

Expertise across a range of priorities 

The Lancet Oncology Commission will be coordinated by the International Cancer Genome Consortium: Accelerating Research in Genomic Oncology (ICGC-ARGO) initiative. ICGC ARGO is a new phase of the International Cancer Genome Consortium focused on analysing specimens from 100,000 cancer patients with high quality clinical data to address outstanding questions in a bid to defeat cancer.  

The Commission brings together international stakeholders with relevant expertise across a range of priorities that collectively define how precision cancer medicine can be implemented in a feasible and affordable way; how cancer omics data can be retained in a more sustainable and accessible manner; be shared more widely; and be better used for the benefit of people affected by cancer.  

Dr Raffaella Casolino, a pancreatic cancer expert from the University of Glasgow’s School of Cancer Sciences and chair of the Commission, added: “This Commission has the ambitious goal of improving the lives of people affected by cancer and their families driving the evolution of precision oncology over the next decades. 

“Cancer burden is doubling by 2040 and health disparities are major drivers of inequalities in outcomes both within and between countries. It is only through a global approach that we can reduce the burden of cancer. And this represents the strength of our initiative through which we really hope to impact at a scale.”

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