Building the EU Cancer and Public Health Genomics platform
Genomics plays an emerging role in clinical and public health research. Genomic modifications strongly drive cancer, and wide profiling of these modifications with new technological approaches has become a major asset for (early) diagnosis, prognosis and therapy in regard to personalised medicine.
The CAN.HEAL project recognises that prevention, diagnosis and treatment should be approached in a concerted way for the optimal benefit of patients and citizens. The consortium aims to improve access for individuals and cancer patients and survivors to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through personalised medicine, by upscaling available innovation in the field of innovative cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The CAN.HEAL project consists of two arms, a clinical and genomics for public health.
The clinical arm, responding to the ‘Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment for All’, focusses on applying ‘next generation sequencing’ technology and identifying implementation paths in order to:
- Extend the application of genetic profiling of patients and tumour cells to allow harmonised data interpretation and facilitated treatment decisions;
- Apply the same or similar diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to patients with comparable cancer profiles across the EU;
- Take up the molecular tumour profiling biomarkers that estimate cancer predisposition to allow better counselling of family members regarding the cancer risk.
The arm of ‘Genomics for Public Health’, will further develop the application of novel insights on estimating cancer risks in healthy populations by polygenic risk score analysis within population-wide interventions as well as strategies of remote genetic counselling and telegenetics.
CAN.HEAL wishes to set the framework for integrating and aligning the Genome of Europe biobanking initiative into public health genomics for cancer. It will further deepen the ethical and legal consent towards access to medical information and develop training tools on oncogenomics at large. Capacity-building exercises will be performed in several countries. CAN.HEAL will build on distinct use cases towards developing an integrated approach to improve access of individuals and cancer patients to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through personalised medicine.
A multidisciplinary consortium from university and research institutes, cancer centres, hospitals, public health institutes, patient and stakeholder organisations and policy institutes from 17 countries has been assembled for this project.
In total, CAN.HEAL consists of 14 work packages. These work packages aim to realise the two consortium arms and focus on themes that overarch both arms, including ethical, legal and social issues, education and training, healthcare system implementation, and project management.
RIVM has a role in the work package on ‘Healthcare system implementation’, of which the main objective is to develop recommendations to support public health authorities in implementing personalised approaches in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment in the EU healthcare systems.
RIVM colleagues involved are Inge van Klink and Suzanne Onstwedder.
This project has received funding from the European Commission, EU4Health Programme 2021-2027, under grant agreement No. 101080009.