Realising the potential of genomic technologies in cancer care: Implementing the ‘Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All’

The EU-wide approach should be applied beyond COVID-19. Cancer is a pandemic of its own, representing a real threat to European citizens and societies. Its already high prevalence is projected to continue to increase. 

Personalised medicine, through wide and timely access to biomarker testing, has the potential to transform cancer care and provide significant benefits to people living with cancer, healthcare systems and societies in general. It can fundamentally change what it means to receive a cancer diagnosis and live with cancer. Yet throughout the EU, uptake of genomic technologies for biomarker testing remains sub-optimal owing to a range of factors, including low awareness, inadequate infrastructure and lack of EU guidance on the value of testing.

A working group of leading experts and stakeholders from the EU oncology community was convened to create a report with actionable policy recommendations to address barriers to the delivery of personalised medicine – and specifically to support the implementation of one flagship in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, ‘Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All’ initiative. The recommendations call on the European Commission to:

  1. Lead awareness campaigns to increase understanding of the benefits of biomarker testing
  2. Develop EU-wide guidance on personalised medicine, including recommendations on biomarker testing as an indicator of quality in cancer care
  3. Build the infrastructure required for optimal uptake of biomarker testing
  4. Facilitate the development of specialised knowledge, including undergraduate, post-graduate and ongoing professional training in personalised medicine
  5. Mobilise resources to promote equal access to personalised medicine

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