The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) is launching Rare Cancers Asia (RCA).
ESMO is hopeful that RCA will enjoy similar success to the 10-year-old Rare Cancers Europe (RCE) campaign, which involves a series of organizations – including pharma companies – working together to put the diseases firmly on the European policy agenda.
RCA will be led by ESMO but founded jointly with actors ranging from patient advocacy groups to research institutions and industry partners across Asia-Pacific. It will focus on education, research and epidemiology.
European reference networks such as EURACAN will offer its resources to RCA, and the first project being planned under its auspices is the creation of a web platform for sharing clinical cases between Asian sarcoma reference centers and the institutions which make up EURACAN’s sarcoma domain.
Its aim will be to harmonize diagnosis and clinical practices in this group of rare cancers, where strategic medical decisions at the beginning of the patient pathway are crucial to making a difference in patient’s outcome.
An epidemiological study will also take place, to estimate the incidence of rare cancers and compare it across selected Asian countries, as well as between Asia and Europe.
Additionally, an epidemiological and translational research project on nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) will be launched to study the characteristics of this disease and improve treatment options based on tumor biology.
While new cases of NPC are diagnosed in fewer than one in 105 people at risk for the disease annually in most areas including Europe, the disease occurs at a much higher incidence in Southeast Asia. There are also differences in survival between high and low-incidence regions.
Paolo Casali, co-founder of both ESMO-led rare cancers initiatives, said: “RCA aims to become the preferred platform for discussing and proposing solutions to the many challenges faced by rare cancer patients, physicians, researchers, industry and other stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Designed to work in partnership with RCE, RCA will build bridges between Asia and Europe, and be of help to both rare cancer patient communities.”