MEP Marlene Mizzi, together with the European Cancer Patient Coalition, hosted a conference in the European Parliament on access and awareness of cancer genetic testing and other types of biomarkers that can help identify the “Achilles’ heel” of different types of cancer, ensuring that the right person receives the right treatment at the right time.
The discussion with policymakers and European experts in the field was focused on the importance of biomarkers, and the actions needed to make precision medicine in the treatment of cancer a reality across Europe.
In her opening statement MEP Mizzi said that “cancer is a key public health concern across Member States and a central priority of EU health policy. According to the most recent statistics, in 2014, almost 1.3 million people died from cancer in the EU. Unfortunately, all European citizens, are more and more likely to experience the illness themselves, or through a family member or a friend.”
“I am convinced that we need to work together to address this challenge. The lives of people affected by cancer can be improved and Cancer biomarkers can specifically do this and most importantly enhance the chance of people with cancer to receive more personalized treatment, appropriate for their specific condition.”
MEP Marlene Mizzi also stressed the need for more awareness on biomarkers and for more progress to be made towards a harmonised and more efficient regulatory framework which will increase access to and potentially reduce the cost of biomarker testing.
“It is of paramount importance that we work together to raise biomarker literacy amongst cancer patients across Europe. We need to increase patient understanding of biomarkers and endorse awareness campaigns that increase biomarker literacy by increasing patient knowledge on where they need to go to get biomarker testing,” said Marlene Mizzi during the event.
Genetic testing and other types of biomarker testing are already available for many types of cancer. These tests help to identify the people who may benefit from effective cancer treatment, ensure sustainable healthcare systems, and avoid treatment-related toxicity. However, their authorised use and reimbursement in the European Union varies by country,” said MEP Mizzi.