The “mission” of the European Commission for the 2021 – 2017 Programming Period is to engage citizens in a continuous process for the design, monitoring and assessment of its 9th European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon Europe’s Missions.
Missions have the mandate to solve a pressing challenge in society within a certain timeframe and budget. They will: i) be bold, inspirational and widely relevant to society; ii) be clearly framed: targeted, measurable and time-bound; iii) establish impact-driven but realistic goals; iv) mobilise resources; v) link activities across different disciplines and different types of research and innovation; vi) drive a systemic change and transform landscapes rather than fix problems in existing ones; vii) make it easier for citizens to understand the value of investments in research and innovation.
“Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible” is one of Europe’s top five major societal challenges. The targets by 2030 are: more than 3 million more lives saved, living longer and better, achieve a thorough understanding of cancer, prevent what is preventable, optimise diagnosis and treatment, support the quality of life of all people exposed to cancer, and ensure equitable access to the above across Europe.
To design the Mission on Cancer and to deliver concrete solutions, the European Commission invited a Board of European experts – covering cancer research, innovation, policy, healthcare provision and practice – to define an ambitious and measurable goal with a substantial impact on and relevance for society and citizens of Europe. The Board’s Mission presented 13 recommendations for bold actions: to understand cancer, its risk factors and impact; to prevent what is preventable; to optimise diagnostics and treatment; and to support the quality of life of people living with and after cancer, while ensuring equitable access for all.
It’s worth mentioning that, in line with the Revert approach, the Board recommend to “advance and implement personalised medicine approaches for all cancer patients in Europe”, since, nowadays, many cancer patients still do not benefit from personalised medicine approaches. Moreover the Board also recommend to “Develop an EU-wide research programme on early diagnostics and minimally invasive treatment”, exploiting the potential of integrating diagnostic markers driven by AI, combining imaging, pathology, genetic, liquid biopsy and clinical biomarkers (‘integrated diagnostics’), that has the potential to increase the accuracy of prediction models of outcome and reduce the use of inefficient diagnostic tools, hereby enhancing personalised medicine.