ejc supplements 10, no. 1 (2012) 1–2
This issue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the
European Organization for Research and Treatment of
Cancer (EORTC); it includes a series of reports prepared
by the EORTC groups and by the EORTC Headquarters
staff that highlight the many achievements of this
unique network of dedicated European investigators.
It also stresses the EORTC’s future strategies that will
ensure the continuity of high quality cancer research
needed to further improve treatments and thereby
quality of life and survival for all patients with cancer.
Fifty years ago, Prof. Henri Tagnon set up the so called
een de Chimioth
with a group of European experts and visionaries aware
of the importance of introducing a multidisciplinary
approach and international cooperation in clinical
research in Europe. This successful initiative developed
into the current EORTC consisting of both a network and
a coordinating scientiﬁc and operational infrastructure
based in Brussels.
Since then, the EORTC has grown tremendously both in
size (the EORTC staff consists of 176 members including
17 nationalities, and there are about 300 participating
institutions) and in recognition all over the world due to
the unconditional commitment of scientists and clinical
The EORTC is indeed an independent research
organization dedicated to investigator-driven clinical
trials and translational research and has an impressive
track record not only in establishing ‘state-of-the-art’
treatments but also in ensuring that new cancer agents
are developed and tested efﬁciently with the aim of
minimizing delays between laboratory discovery and
their therapeutic beneﬁt for patients.
Over the years, the EORTC has adapted its structure
and expanded its premises to respond to the challenges
of modern cancer clinical and translational research. The
EORTC board decided to promote translational research
in 2001 as new discoveries in molecular biology have
indeed brought optimism about future treatments.
EORTC Headquarters has the responsibility of fulﬁlling
national and international obligations, e.g. ICH Guide-
lines (for Good Clinical Practice and for Good Laboratory
Practice), and has made major contributions to the
implementation of the EU Clinical Trials Directive, which
has been in effect since 2004, and also to its revision
which is underway in order to promote and facilitate
harmonization of processes for pan-European trials.
2. Current challenges and priorities
Even as we look back and celebrate ﬁfty years of
the EORTC, it is also a time to look forward, identify
challenges, and focus our priorities in a way that will
enable us to continue delivering on our mission.
Certainly, we need to shorten the time between the
development of the study concept and the enrolment
of the ﬁrst patient in a clinical trial, and to reach this
goal, the EORTC has made a commitment to streamline,
simplify, and harmonize all steps from design of the
study to activation of institutions.
Looking forward, it is essential that the EORTC accrues
the next generation of motivated clinical trialists.
Appointing young oncologists to the steering committees
of the EORTC Groups and Task Forces is a step in the
right direction. Educational programs such as the joint
ECCO–AACR–EORTC–ESMO Flims Workshop on Methods
in Clinical Cancer Research as well as the EORTC–NCI–
ASCO Molecular Markers in Cancer and the EORTC–
AACR–NCI Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics
meetings deserve our continued support.
As a European research institution, we need to promote
European competitiveness and true international cooper-
ation avoiding duplication.
EORTC trials with integrated translational research
that include biobanking and molecular imaging are
a new priority, and it is essential that we facilitate
proof of principle studies that lead to practice-changing
trials. Since 2007 the EORTC Board has invested over
€7.3 million in EORTC Group proposals, a testimony to
its commitment to support translational research and
complex clinical studies.
We would like to thank all EORTC members, their staff
including data managers and research nurses, and also
the dedicated staff at the EORTC Headquarters, who over
1359-6349/$ – see front matter
© 2012 European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer. All rights reserved.