PRESS RELEASE: The future of research in hematology is here
“For the first time, hematologists in Europe came together to develop a roadmap to guide hematology research in Europe” says Professor Andreas Engert, chair of the EHA Research Roadmap Task Force, “Hematology in Europe has achieved a lot, but the discipline must focus and collaborate to be efficient and remain successful in improving patient outcomes. The Roadmap does just that and will determine the research agenda in Europe in the coming years.”
Under the leadership of Andreas Engert, his Task Force and eleven section editors, some three hundred experts from over twenty countries in Europe, including clinicians, basic researchers and patients, were involved in drafting the Research Roadmap. Stakeholders such as national hematology societies, patient organizations, hematology trial groups and other European organizations (e.g. in overlapping disease areas) were consulted to comment on the final draft version. “This means that the subtitle ‘A consensus document’ is particularly appropriate: the document reflects the views of the hematological research community in Europe. This is crucial,” says Professor Tony Green, president of EHA, “if we want to convince policy makers to support the realization of this important research.”
“Now’s the time for Europe to pay attention,” states Professor Ulrich Jäger, chair of the EHA European Affairs Committee. He goes on: “With an aging population, the slow recovery from the financial and Euro crises, costly medical breakthroughs and innovations – quite a few of which involve hematology researchers, Europe faces increased health expenditures while budgets are limited. Policy makers are rightfully cautious when spending the taxpayers’ money. So it is our responsibility to provide the policy makers with the information and evidence they need to decide where their support impacts knowledge and health most efficiently, to the benefit of patients and society. The Research Roadmap delivers on that. Now it is up to the policy makers in the EU to deliver too.”
You may find the full article here.
Thom Duyvené de Wit, European Affairs
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NOTES TO EDITOR:
About hematology (in Europe)
Hematology, the medical discipline concerned with blood and blood-forming organs, is a multi-faceted, extensive and thriving field of study. Researchers in hematology work to expand our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the creation and functioning of blood and its components and, critically, of when these mechanisms falter or fail. Clinicians in hematology treat patients with myriad of diseases including anemia, coagulation disorders, bleeding disorders and blood cancers such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphomas.
Targeted therapy, the concept of cancer stem cells, the structure of hemoglobin, multi-agent chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, and cord blood stem cell transplantation, are all examples of discoveries or applications in hematologic research that have fundamentally improved our understanding of biology and resulted in the development of innovative treatment approaches; not just in hematology, but in oncology, rheumatology, cardiology, immunology, etc. In many cases, European researchers and scientists were at the forefront of these breakthrough discoveries.
Despite the enormous progress that has been made over the past decades, some 80 million people still suffer from one or more blood disorders in the European Union at any given time. Regrettably, about a hundred and fifteen thousand of them die each year. Notwithstanding the enormous physical and psychological/emotional burden on the affected and their loved ones, the economic consequences are substantial indeed: the societal cost of blood disorders in the EU28, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland is estimated to amount to some 23 Billion Euros a year.
About the European Hematology Association (EHA)
The European Hematology Association (EHA) is the leading European society for hematology–the medical specialty dealing with blood. EHA promotes excellence in patient care, research and education in European hematology and represent the interests of the discipline, its clinicians and its scientists. EHA’s Annual Congress attracts some 10,000 attendees and its journal, Haematologica, is the primary general hematology journal in Europe. EHA seek to influence policies to increase research funding opportunities, to improve research regulations, to optimize access to medicines, and to harmonize and improve education and training.