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
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:
Creation of national and international cancer registries that will
help track cancer incidence and mortality
Basic and clinical research in cancer screening and prevention
Increase government and private funding for cancer research
emphasizing return on investment
A coordinated global communications protocol to speed information
exchange among world cancer research organizations and their constituencies
Increase training and funding opportunities for young investigators
throughout the world
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 groups mission of a
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 Charters 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
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
willunless we continue our major investment in scientific
discovery and cancer carebecome 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 )