What Innovations are Changing Cancer Care and Influencing Good Practice?
Definitions of good practice always require constant updating and will evolve substantially over time. Currently, active fields of research and innovation in cancer, using established scientific concepts and technologies, are enhancing good clinical cancer practice every year. These include:
- The advances in understanding the cell and molecular biology of cancer and cancer genetics which characterise the hallmarks of cancer, also underpin advances in pharmacology and drug development, immunology and microbiology which are being applied to cancer diagnosis and treatment (6, 14)
- Precision oncology, based on modern molecular pathology/biomarkers and imaging, are helping clinicians and patients choose the right treatment at the right time for the right patient (20-21)
- The further development of radiotherapy technologies, integrating new beam properties and/or more advanced imaging modalities, allow introducing ever more targeted techniques and treatment approaches such as adaptive, MR-guided or flash radiotherapy that enhance treatment individualisation to the patient and his/her tumour (89-91)
- The further development of surgical technologies including robotics, minimally invasive surgical technologies, imaging enabled surgical approaches, and improved oncoplastic reconstructive surgery (25, 26)
- Health Informatics and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning are facilitating the responsible collection, curation and evaluation of large quantities of patient data which can inform service planning and delivery (14)
- Interventional radiology/oncology are providing means of destroying localised cancers using heat or cold, without the invasive aspects of some other modalities such as surgery (92)
- New modalities such as immunotherapy and vaccines are delivering the latest innovations for patients (22)
- Applied health research and innovation are providing insights into the more effective organisation of healthcare (5, 11, 14)
- Translation of Physical Sciences are delivering new tools to improve diagnostics and all treatment modalities (93)
Collaborative research organisations including the EORTC (53), Cancer Core Europe (60) and the European Academy of Cancer Sciences (94) covering the full range of basic, translational and clinical cancer research have a key role to play in the European effort to achieve the ambitious goals for improving patient survival and well-being such as those set out for The Code.
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