Research is life and hope for cancer patients

Scientists, oncologists and associations have reiterated the importance of strengthening cancer research to increase survival rates to the disease and of having stable sources of funding to advance this challenge

CNIO cancer research

View of the National Cancer Research Center, this Wednesday, the eve of World Cancer Research Day, which is celebrated on September 24, in which the global scientific community unites with the aim of avoiding death and suffering of millions of people. EFE / JJ Guillén

But it has been a patient who has highlighted the role that science plays in society: “Research is life; research is our hope ”.

It was pronounced by María Luisa Villafranca , a breast cancer patient and president of the Rosae Association.

The testimonies and demands (more resources; less bureaucracy and a greater capacity to retain and attract talent) have taken place during the different events convened to commemorate World Cancer Research Day , September 24, which have been gathered in different places to some of the most prestigious, leading researchers involved in research against this disease

All virtual. A circumstance also used by scientists to warn about how the health, economic and social crisis caused by the coronavirus is having a very negative impact on cancer research and has slowed down the progress that was being achieved.

Or to warn that the fight against cancer was a global challenge before the pandemic arrived and will continue to be when the international community has managed, thanks to science, to stop the advance of the virus responsible for COVID-19.

It has been research, as scientists have shown today, which has allowed the survival rate to cancer to have passed (after five years of diagnosis) from 30 to 55 percent in the last thirty years.

And it will be science that will cause that cancer survival rate to rise to 70 percent by 2030, a goal of the international scientific community.

Maria Blasco

cancer research
The director of the National Center for Oncological Research (CNIO), María Blasco / EFE / Archive / Toni Galán

“Stopping science is stopping well-being”, has warned the director of the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) , María Blasco , and has warned that a slowdown in research will make “disappear” hopes of making cancer a more curable disease.

In his opinion, the current crisis caused by the coronavirus has given “very crudely” a lesson on human fragility, and has influenced that after this threat will come others and has placed cancer as one of the “global challenges”.

In the event organized by the CNIO, led by the journalist Cristina Villanueva, Francis Mojica , professor at the Department of Physiology, Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Alicante and father of the genetic editing tool “CRISPR , has intervened with a” keynote speech. ”, Already considered one of the main advances of the last decades in the field of microbiology and medicine.

Mojica has reviewed the main advances that have been achieved in recent years thanks to this tool and the usefulness it has shown in agriculture, livestock and in many fields of medicine, including the fight against cancer.

The microbiologist has referred to the doors that this gene editing tool opens to design new therapies, to discover new drugs or to improve the prevention and diagnosis of the disease.

Barbacid and Tabernero

AECC Barbacid Cancer Research
Image provided by the Spanish Association Against Cancer of the debate in which the researcher, Mariano Barbacid, Head of the Experimental Oncology Group of the National Center for Oncological Research (CNIO) has participated. Credit: AECC.

While at the CNIO they debated the main challenges of cancer research and the necessary involvement of the whole of society to face them, at the headquarters of the Spanish Association Against Cancer ( AECC ), numerous scientists and oncologists detailed the consequences of the slowdown in cancer. research may have for patients.

There, Mariano Barbacid and Josep Tabernero , two of the leading cancer researchers in Spain, have warned of the “worrying” situation in science that, after suffering “brutal” cuts in recent years, continues to suffer from the same problems: lack of resources, bureaucracy and inability to retain talent.

“We had the hope that the creation of the Ministry of Science would serve to reverse the situation but the truth is that absolutely nothing has happened,” said Barbacid.

For his part, Tabernero recalled that a few years ago the financing objective for science was to reach 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2020, but “we are already in that year and we still allocate 1.2% of the GDP, a figure far from the fixed 2% and much further still from the 3% average for Europe ”.

The director of the Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), Isabel Orbe , recalled that in the last decade Spain has invested some 1,500 million euros in cancer research, a figure that “should be doubled” to live up to the European plan against cancer and reach the target of 70 percent survival.

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