Increasing options for cancer treatment | Anticancerfund

Increasing options for cancer treatment

Election Manifesto 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 programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, should provide funding opportunities specifically aimed at supporting independent research into drug repurposing.

2.  Unlock the regulatory pathway

The European Commission’s Expert Group on Safe and Timely Access to Medicines for Patients (STAMP) has been working on drug repurposing to explore barriers in the existing drug development route and devise a regulatory framework conducive to bring repurposed medicines to the patient.

In 2019 the Pharmaceutical Committee endorsed the Proposal of the STAMP for a framework to support not-for-profit organisations and academia, and the associated pilot with oversight from the Repurposing Observatory Group led by Spain. The New Pharmaceutical Strategy released by the European Commission announces the launch of this call for pilot projects for off-patent repurposed drugs in 2021.

  • We urge you to stand behind this important work and to go one step further by demanding a similar approach for repurposed drugs in oncology as for diseases causing an outbreak, like COVID-19. This implies expanding the mandate of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to advice on medicines which may treat diseases causing an outbreak to life-threatening diseases with high unmet need.

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.


Read more on drug repurposing.
Read more on our work with decision-makers.