Prof. Regina Beets-Tan, head of Radiology at the Netherlands
Cancer Institute and professor at Maastricht University and the
University of Southern Denmark, has been selected by the European
Commission to be a member of Horizon Europe's Mission Board for
Cancer, the new European Framework Programme for Research &
Beets-Tan will advise the European Commission on research and
innovation in the field of cancer. She is the only Dutch citizen
among the 15 members of this Mission Board for Cancer.
She specializes in the imaging of cancer in the abdomen, colon
cancer in particular.
Horizon Europe is the new €100 billion research and
innovation Framework Programme and is the successor to Horizon2020.
It will run from 2021-2027. Five overarching "Missions" have been
designated within Horizon Europe, major and inspiring social
challenges that will be worked on within Europe in a public-private
partnership. The framework program will start in 2021, with a
budget of 100 billion euros for large multidisciplinary
public-private partnership programs.
Five Mission Boards
The Mission Board for Cancer is led by Nobel Prize winner Harald
zur Hause, who discovered that the HPV virus causes cervical
cancer. The Mission Boards will define major themes (the missions)
in Horizon Europe and advise the European Commission on
them. Besides the Mission Board for Cancer, there are also
boards for Climate Change, Healthy Oceans, Climate-neutral Cities
and Healthy Soil and Food. Cancer is, therefore, the only
(bio)medical Mission Board.
Regina Beets-Tan on her vision for cancer research:
'In recent decades, major steps have been taken worldwide in
cancer treatment by investing heavily in research and innovation.
Screening programs have ensured that we can detect tumors at
earlier stages. We have gained more insight into the growth and
behavior of cancer and can, therefore, treat more precisely,
focusing the treatment only on the tumor while at the same time
using molecular imaging to see if the treatment is working.
Pre-treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy or
combinations of these can drastically shrink tumors so that
patients have to undergo a less aggressive operation with a better
quality of life. More effective treatments for metastatic disease
now give this patient group a chance to live longer. There is also
the emergence of artificial intelligence and lightning-fast
developments in imaging technology to look deeper into the tumor
and portray the micro-environment of the tumor.
We are at the start of all these developments and it is clear
that the EU wants to invest and, with the creation of the "EU
Mission Board for Cancer", wants to focus on major themes that will
make a difference in cancer care. I am thinking, for example, of an
EU-wide implementation of screening programs, for more cancer types
than is possible today, of innovative fundamental and translational
research, and research in the field of cancer survivorship and
digital big data.
Missions have a high chance of success if the issue is
approached from a multidisciplinary perspective. I think the EU
Commission sees that, and the fact that I have a seat on the EU
Mission Board for Cancer as a Radiologist is not only a personal
honor but above all a recognition of the increasingly important
role of cancer imaging.'