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ESMO Congratulates New EU Research Commissioner Iliana Ivanova and Shares Recommendations to Boost Oncology Research in Europe

19 Sep 2023

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congratulates Iliana Ivanova on her appointment as European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. ESMO is keen to collaborate with Commissioner Ivanova and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD) on developing policies that can boost oncology research across the European Union (EU).

Iliana Ivanova was nominated for the post in June 2023 after the resignation of the previous EU Research Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. Following a hearing held on 5 September, the European Parliament approved the nomination of Ms Ivanova on 12 September in plenary.

The Council - representing all EU Member States - officially confirmed the appointment on 19 September with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Commissioner Ivanova’s term in office will run until 31 October 2024.

Commissioner Ivanova will be in charge of Horizon Europe, the EU’s main instrument for funding research and innovation in Europe, through which funding is also made available to support oncology research. Horizon Europe is also the basis for the Cancer Mission which sets out a portfolio of activities aimed at: “Improving the lives of more than 3 million people by 2030 through prevention, cure and for those affected by cancer including their families, to live longer and better.” ESMO President Andrés Cervantes will deliver a presentation on ESMO’s vision on the Cancer Mission at the event “Cancer Mission in Spain: Present and Future” to be held on 3 October.

ESMO warmly welcomes the appointment of Commissioner Ivanova and has shared its views on how EU research policies can help address the cancer burden in Europe. As such, ESMO believes that the EU Framework Programmes - including Horizon Europe and the forthcoming 10th Framework Programme - should include provisions to:

  • Enhance the development of system solutions and infrastructures for multi-omics profiling of solid tumours for prognosis, personalised medicine and outcome prediction;
  • Boost investigations into multidimensional causes of cancer;
  • Support research on personalised therapies for molecularly defined tumour subsets. This involves the development of targeted agents, immunomodulatory therapies, vaccines, cell-based therapies, multi-specific antibodies, and antibody-drug conjugates;
  • Accelerate research into artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for clinical decision-support and for personalised diagnosis/therapy of patients with cancer. Special attention is also to be given to the development, clinical validation and commercial exploitation of such solutions;
  • Achieve progress regarding the real-time monitoring of minimal residual disease via liquid biopsies, radiomics and virtual biopsies;
  • Support the development of models for objective, transparent and fair pricing of cancer therapies and sustainable financing of equitable health systems. 

ESMO is committed to working with Commissioner Iliana Ivanova on driving oncology research in the EU and delivering medical breakthroughs that can save the lives of citizens diagnosed with cancer.

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