Annual Impact Sheet 2019
Cancer patients deserve optimal treatment. We are willing to go the extra mile for them.
Join us to support scientific research and outstanding care. Together, we can make a difference.
We have a big heart for cancer patients
- We invest in cancer research
We promote, finance and/or coordinate clinical trials to investigate promising cancer treatments. We support research aiming to deliver societal benefit that is neglected by the pharma industry.
Our ultimate goal? To extend lives, increase quality of life and provide cures for cancer patients.
- We help cancer patients
We offer patients and their relatives personal coaching and give them information about cancer treatments that is based on scientific evidence. This empowers them to make informed treatment decisions.
- We connect people
We engage with stakeholders and policymakers on both national and European levels to eliminate barriers to rapid and affordable access to more cancer treatments. We believe that no cancer patient should be left out in the cold.
The patient is truly our focus
‘Patient centricity’ is a buzzword used by all stakeholders in the cancer ecosystem, from the pharmaceutical industry to politics. But, let’s face it: the industry must deliver monetary returns for its shareholders, academic researchers are under pressure to publish and patient advocates are struggling with the complexity of the drug development system. Nowadays, it’s not easy to focus exclusively on what the cancer patient really needs.
We do. We deal directly with questions from patients regarding treatments every single day. We listen to the concerns of cancer patients and their relatives and help them find the right answers.
Even more, we have an ongoing scientific dialogue with international researchers and clinicians about the projects we support. The pace at which science is revealing the underlying biology of oncology is unprecedented. As scientists, we keep track of this information and integrate it into our activities. Our purpose? To understand patient needs so that we can bring people together and act as a knowledge broker for decision makers, politicians and social media.
We want to make things happen.
Science will always be our foundation, but patients are our compass.
We invest in research neglected by others
In 2019, the Anticancer Fund supported 15 clinical trials investigating different cancer types in multiple European countries. Our overall engagement in funding for research increased to almost 2 million euros.
See our reliable results
We reported the outcomes of three of our trials. The encouraging results enable researchers to shift their work into high gear on the way to discovering better cancer treatments. There is no doubt that the new insights will benefit patients.
Look at our promising projects
- In April 2019, we reached out to researchers in need of funding. We were willing to support clinical trials that focused on reducing the risk of the cancer coming back after primary treatment has finished. Researchers from all over the world responded to our request: we received 27 proposals from 14 countries. The clinical trial(s) we decided to fund after a strict selection process will start enrolling patients in 2020.
- Together with the Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research, a Swiss nonprofit organisation, we secured 3 million dollars to attract clinical trials focusing on therapy optimisation and drug repurposing, with special interest in rare cancers. Rare cancers represent 22 percent of all cancers. Though patients affected by rare cancers have poorer survival than patients with more common cancers, they receive much less research attention, hence this specific focus.
300 non-cancer drugs can fight cancer
The Anticancer Fund has identified 300 drugs with the potential to be used as new cancer treatments. These drugs are marketed to treat other diseases and have shown evidence of anticancer effects in laboratory experiments or in people.
We have developed a free online database (www.redo-project.org/db) of these 300 existing drugs that could
be repurposed to treat cancer. Most repurposed drugs have low toxicity, are often low cost, and are widely available. The potential for the future is huge.
Gauthier Bouche, Director clinical research: "Everybody realises that the high cost of new cancer drugs is not sustainable. Affordability of medicines is a major concern and drug repurposing is a solution that has led to hundreds of new therapeutic options for patients."
OUR PATIENT SERVICE
We empower cancer patients
Every patient with cancer must be thoroughly assisted so they can make informed decisions about their health. In 2019, we gave cancer patients non-judgmental and evidence-based information about their diseases and available treatment options. Our personalised service, My Cancer Navigator, has proven itself a value-adding tool.
- We were contacted concerning 298 patient cases, 43% more than in 2018.
- People from 43 different countries reached out to us.
- We dedicated 2,400 hours to filtering scientific data, consulting experts and summarising information in clear language for the patient.
- The My Cancer Navigator physician made more than 400 phone calls and visited 49 patients face to face in Belgium.
- We offered the personalised service of My Cancer Navigator to 63 Belgian patients.
- Most patients enquired about: general treatment options (30%), a specific treatment (30%), scientific evidence on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) (10%)
OUR SOCIETAL IMPACT
We connect people
To fight cancer, we must join forces. We incentivise collaboration and facilitate synergies between patients, clinicians, researchers, regulators, the industry, payers, decision makers and other foundations.
Our goal? Better and more affordable cancer treatments.
Boosting options for cancer treatment in Europe
We published a manifesto, ‘Doing more with less’: a call to action aiming to unlock the potential of repurposed medicines and provide new and sustainable cancer treatments. Repurposing existing medicines widely used for non-cancer diseases to treat cancer could allow new cancer treatments to be introduced relatively quickly and cheaply, meeting the unmet needs of patients and healthcare payers alike.
The translation of repurposed drugs into clinical practice faces substantial regulatory and financial barriers. We asked European decision policymakers for help in overcoming these obstacles. Several non-profit organisations have endorsed our strategy, which is highlighted in our manifesto.
Supporting non-profit organisations and academia
We participate in a multidisciplinary working group initiated by the European Commission on ‘Safe and Timely Access to Medicines for Patients’ (STAMP). Our objective? To ensure that off-label treatments currently under clinical investigation will be made available to patients as soon as they are proven to be effective.
Our input has paid off: the STAMP expert group has developed a framework for repurposing drugs that could facilitate the process of bringing new indications on label. In 2020, the Repurposing Observatory Group (RepOG) will start testing the framework.
We are exploring options in cell therapy
Cell and gene immunotherapy are booming. The concept of using our own immune systems to fight cancer leads to huge expectations.
In collaboration with Kom op tegen Kanker, Stichting tegen Kanker / Fondation contre le Cancer and KPMG, we explored the cellular immuno-oncology field for current business models. Our horizon scan will lead to an open dialogue with different academic groups willing to evaluate how the clinical adoption of cell immunotherapy is feasible in an academic environment. How can access to these innovative therapies be ensured? There are several obstacles to bringing (autologous) cell immunotherapy to patients. We strive to respond to these identified challenges.
2019 IN NUMBERS
Your donations can work miracles
Donors and philanthropists can change the world by investing in high impact research for better cancer care. Join our supporters and help us to fight cancer harder.
In 2019, we received a total of 3.28 million euros from individual donors, legacies, entrepreneurs, companies and other non-profit initiatives.
We are very grateful to our donors, who support our dream of curing cancer.
"Friends for Life"
The charity campaign De Warmste Week organised by the radio station Studio Brussel meant a lot to us. So many people showed their best side and collected money. Vrienden voor het leven Anzegem raised 20,000 euros for the Anticancer Fund.
Legacies drive the future of cancer research
A number of people left us their legacies or shared them with us. In 2019, we received a record amount of 1.8 million euros from men and women who wanted to make a difference in the fight against cancer by naming us as a beneficiary in their wills or their life insurance policies. They decided to support a good cause that had been important to them, and in doing so, have made all the difference.
The operational costs of the Anticancer Fund were covered by its founder and chairman Luc Verelst, allowing all other donations to go entirely to the projects we believe in. Luc is strongly convinced of the impact of philanthropy. He chose this quote to express his philosophy.