Increasing options for cancer treatment
Election Manifesto April 2019
Call to action
- Unlock the potential of repurposed medicines
- Provide new and sustainable cancer treatment options
- Develop a parallel drug development pathway supported by public investment
Advantages of drug repurposing
Various drugs already widely used for non-cancer diseases have shown promise for the treatment of cancer. Repurposing these drugs could allow new cancer treatments to be introduced relatively quickly and at low cost, thereby meeting the unmet needs of patients and healthcare payers alike.
Unlock the potential of drug repurposing
1. Independent research: rethink funding options
Europe has some of the brightest brains in cancer research. Europe and the member states have the moral and economic obligation to invest more in independent research and drug repurposing.
- Where commercial interest is missing and patient needs are high, commit to making public funds available for independent research and clinical trials for new cancer treatments.
- Creative funding models are required; these could be based on partnerships between public funders, health insurers, academic investigators and philanthropic supporters.
- The EU’s next mission-oriented framework program for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, should provide funding opportunities specifically aimed at supporting independent research into drug repurposing.
2. Unlock the regulatory pathway
We should facilitate the prompt and efficient authorisation of new indications for existing drugs.
The European Commission’s Expert Group on Safe and Timely Access to Medicines for Patients (STAMP) has formed a working group on repurposing. The group aims to define a simplified repurposing framework for independent clinical research, eliminating barriers in the existing drug development route, complementary to the current innovation pathway followed by commercial developers.
We ask policy makers to support the proposal of the new parallel regulatory framework.
3. Need for infrastructure
Innovation requires adequate infrastructure.
- Support the establishment of centres of excellence for horizon scanning and knowledge-sharing on non-cancer drugs that show promise in cancer.
- Deepen cooperation across disciplines and especially including patients as experts in cancer research in Europe.
- Support open science.
- Collect post-launch phase and real-world evidence to get a clear understanding of a treatment’s added value.