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Cancer Summit Leads to Global Network to Help Unify Research in Fight Against Cancer

Cancer Summit Leads to Global Network to Help Unify Research in Fight Against Cancer

The Charter of Paris Against Cancer was signed by more than 100 international leaders in government, patient advocacy, cancer research, and global corporations at the first World Summit Against Cancer held in Paris on February 4, 2000. The Charter of Paris is the first global call to action against cancer in the new millennium. Arguably, say the sponsors, the most important section of the charter is article 10, which maps out the sustaining activities and explains how signatories of the charter will go forward as global partners and allies against cancer.

To help achieve that goal, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) spearheaded the formation of the Alliance of World Cancer Research Organizations by bringing together a group of scientists and thought-leaders from 35 cancer organizations worldwide. The initial meeting of the alliance, chaired by the past president of the AACR, Webster K. Cavenee, md, director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and professor at the University of California at San Diego, was held in December 1999 in Bangkok. The focus of the meeting was to develop the mission of the alliance and establish the priorities to be met in building an effective global anticancer network.

“The first thing we realized when we gathered together was that this was an historic event,” said Dr. Cavenee. “So many international cancer leaders had never before gathered together at the same time to discuss a global alliance to stem the tide of this disease.”

Alliance Agrees on Six Overriding Priorities

The assembled group formed a platform of six priorities that they agreed were necessary to accelerate progress against cancer around the world. “The group was incredibly diverse, but we agreed upon the bedrock priorities very quickly,” said Dr. Cavenee.

The six priorities of the alliance are:

  1. Creation of national and international cancer registries that will help track cancer incidence and mortality

  2. Basic and clinical research in cancer screening and prevention

  3. Increase government and private funding for cancer research emphasizing return on investment

  4. A coordinated global communications protocol to speed information exchange among world cancer research organizations and their constituencies

  5. Increase training and funding opportunities for young investigators throughout the world

  6. International coordination of therapeutic and prevention clinical trials, to provide a broader base of subjects, thereby maximizing cure rates and prevention.

Dr. Cavenee and other members of the alliance at the summit will use the event as a springboard to further the group’s mission of a global network.

Each year worldwide, nine million new cases of cancer occur and five million people die as a result of malignancies, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). Because of dramatic increases in life expectancy, changes in lifestyle, and tobacco use, the WHO projects that the number of new cases of cancer will rise to 20 million annually by 2020 and cancer deaths will exceed 10 million, despite advances in treatment.

“We must all stand together globally, sharing research advances, technologies and new treatments, if we are to change the course of cancer in the 21st century,” said Dr. Cavenee.

Overview of the Charter’s Articles

The preamble of the 10 articles of The Charter of Paris Against Cancer requires that signatories commit to the principles and practices outlined in the historic document. Each article focuses on a particular element of cancer prevention, treatment, or care, including protecting patient rights; increasing the commitment to basic and clinical research; improving access to clinical trials and prevention and screening initiatives; and addressing patients’ quality-of-life issues.

“It has become increasingly apparent that cancer cannot successfully be fought in isolation. The battle can only be won by creating unprecedented global partnerships between government, industry, the scientific community, health care providers, and those affected by cancer,” said David Khayat, MD, of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital and cofounder of the summit.

“The World Summit Against Cancer is a forceful way of drawing attention to cancer as a global public health problem that will—unless we continue our major investment in scientific discovery and cancer care—become a scourge of the new century,” said Richard D. Klausner, MD, director of the US National Cancer Institute.

“Patient involvement and advocacy [are]&ldots;necessary component[s] to the eradication of cancer. Cancer survivors and advocates bring a unique and important perspective to the fight against cancer and must be involved in all levels of decision-making related to cancer research, care, and public policy,” said Fran Visco, president of the US National Breast Cancer Coalition.

 “All of us signing the charter today are pledging in good faith to do all that is in our power to fight and prevent cancer,” said John Mendelsohn, MD, president of M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He explained that working groups for each of the articles of the charter will be formed and, using this year as a benchmark, will report back to the international cancer community on progress made against each of the articles on an annual basis.

Interested individuals and organizations can obtain more information and sign their support for The Charter of Paris Against Cancer by visiting the event web site located at www.CharterAgainstCancer.org. (See full text of the charter )

 
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