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STOA-Project: Future Developments of Cancer Therapy (PRE-STUDY)

STOA-Project: Future Developments of Cancer Therapy (PRE-STUDY)
Project team:

Sauter, Arnold (Project leader)

Funding:

STOA (The Science Technology Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament)

Start date:

2006

End date:

2007

Research area:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

Cancer is one of the main health problems of mankind. Despite extensive research for dozens of years effective cures have been developed only for some forms of cancer, thus not reducing the menace to a substantially lower degree. The search for new and better therapies is a constant challenge for the biological and medical sciences and should undoubtedly be supported by European Research Policy in a very fundamental way.

The aim of the pre-study "Future Developments of Cancer Therapy" on behalf of the European Parliament's STOA Panel (Scientific Technological Options Assessment) is to provide an overview of the field of cancer research and therapy and a more detailed picture of the most promising current cancer therapy approaches. Furthermore, it will analyse the extent and the focuses of projects, co-operations, and funding in the area of cancer research in the European Union. The overall aim of this pre-study is to lay the ground for a possible future comprehensive TA study.

The apparent problems in developing effective cancer therapies point at fundamental gaps in the understanding of how cancer is evoked, how cancer can be cured, and how cancer can be prevented. A TA project therefore will have to deal in depth with the uncertainty of knowledge concerning emergence and course of cancer and the resulting present and future research challenges with respect to more efficient therapies.

The TA pre-study will primarily focus on four therapy approaches, which were identified to represent the most advanced biomedical research and development and which are supposed to play an important role for cancer treatment in the near future:

The basis of a the pre-study will be a detailed literature analysis, interviews with specialists from pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organisations (universities, national institutes), research & development departments of biotechnology companies, as well as health professionals from hospitals, and expert opinions concerning selected important aspects. During the last phase of the project, an expert workshop will be organised to validate and discuss the preliminary findings.

  • gene therapy
  • stem cell therapy
  • vaccine therapy
  • biological therapies (which use the body's immune system to fight cancer or to lessen the side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments)

The basis of a the pre-study will be a detailed literature analysis, interviews with specialists from pharmaceutical companies, non-profit organisations (universities, national institutes), research & development departments of biotechnology companies, as well as health professionals from hospitals, and expert opinions concerning selected important aspects. During the last phase of the project, an expert workshop will be organised to validate and discuss the preliminary findings.

Contact

Dr. Arnold Sauter
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe
Germany

Tel.: +49 30 28491-110
E-Mail