Not for profit
Benefiting patients is the only measurable target of the Anticancer Fund. As we strive to improve quality of life and respond to real patient needs with new therapy options, financial return is not within the scope of our activities.
Cancer research is a business
The pharmaceutical industry operates within an economic reality: the business value of a new therapy sets the research agenda and budget. Small patient groups, weak market value, difficult patent protection, danger of off-label use,... result in a low economic drive to develop treatment options. Cancer is a business that speaks the language of money.
Cancer research is biased
Not all cancers receive the same research attention. The range of therapy options available depends heavily on the type and complexity of a cancer, and prognosis varies from 'excellent' to 'no hope whatsoever'. There are plenty of unmet needs, and science does not have answers for all patients.
In terms of drug development, the larger the population of patients, the greater the market potential of the therapy. The ‘big four’ cancers (lung, breast, prostate and colorectal) represent more than 50% of cancers detected worldwide, and are thus prioritised by the cancer business. Over 20% of cancer patients suffer from a rare or less common form of cancer, which includes all paediatric cancers. Although every cancer patient deserves the same rights, industry and academic research are secondarily oriented towards this group.
Cancer research is expensive
From basic research to clinical trials and market authorisation: de novo development of a cancer treatment is exorbitantly expensive. The process can take over 10 years and cost up to 2 billion euros. Novel molecules and new therapies generate opportunities for patents, a highly valued and sought-after economic asset. With their eyes on the price, followers and ‘me too’ developers duplicate research for profit, resulting in little added value for the patient.
High-tech, expensive cancer research is the flagship in the development of new cancer treatments. While this approach contributes greatly to our growing knowledge base, other promising alternatives are trampled and abandoned in the cancer care gold rush.
Our views on treating cancer
Our current focus areas
Drug repurposingDrug repurposing, also known as drug repositioning, is a drug development strategy predicated on the reuse of existing...
Less common and rare cancersWe don’t just focus on the ‘big four’ of cancer – prostate, colon, breast and lung. We also investigate new treatment...
Combination therapiesIt is important to investigate the impacts of drugs beyond what they can achieve alone. Using them in combination can...
Preventing tumour recurrenceFor cancer survivors, the fight isn’t always over. Many are concerned about the possibility of recurrence, and living...