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Help us make innovative treatments accessible to more patients across Europe

The Anticancer Fund collaborates to make innovative treatments accessible to more patients across Europe

I’m reaching out to share something really close to my heart –our recent partnership with the EU-X-CT initiative. This is more than just a collaboration; it’s a big leap toward making sure that every cancer patient in Europe has the chance to participate in clinical trials, even if they're not in their home country. 

Why the EU-X-CT initiative matters 

Imagine you are a candidate for a clinical trial in another European country, but you can’t get there because of a maze of rules, costs, and red tape. That's the reality for many who lack treatment options in their home country, and it's why the EU-X-CT initiative is so important. It’s all about breaking down those walls and making sure that no matter where you live in Europe, you can access innovative treatment. (*) 

Despite the European Union’s commitment to freedom of movement, substantial barriers remain that prevent patients from participating in clinical trials outside their home countries. According to a recent report from DG SANTE, there are still significant obstacles which include logistical, financial, and regulatory challenges. Specific regulations are already in place that allow people to receive treatment abroad – under certain conditions – but this does not extend to clinical trial participation. 

Our journey so far 

At the Anticancer Fund, we regularly receive inquiries from patients seeking information about experimental treatment and trials abroad. By joining the EU-X-CT initiative, we want to give them answers, and options. 

We know examples of patients who were refused because the informed consent form was in another language than the official language of the country where the clinical trial was started, and a translation was not deemed acceptable. In other cases, the requirements were so lengthy and difficult that the patients ran out of time. Or trials simply aren’t open to patients from another country because of institutional policies. 

The EU-X-CT initiative is a collaborative effort to map and streamline access to clinical trials for patients across European borders led by Dr Ingrid Klingmann, Chairman of the European Forum for Good Clinical Practice (EFGCP), and Dr Susan Bhatti, Chair of Clinical Research Expert Group at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). 

The initiative is built on research conducted by Lalova et al., published in 2020: the study found that while patients and healthcare professionals see the value in accessing trials abroad, practical barriers often hinder this possibility.   

We believe that having a transparent and comprehensive overview of the requirements of and possibilities in each European country would significantly enhance our ability to support patients. 

Call to action: participate in a survey 

This is where we need your help. To make meaningful progress, the EU-X-CT initiative is conducting surveys. We urge everyone in our network who has navigated this complex landscape of trying to access a clinical trial abroad to participate in these surveys. Your input is invaluable and will help us understand what needs to change and how we can advocate for needed changes. 

By sharing your story in the EU-X-CT surveys, you will help shape a future that could make it easier for all cancer patients to get the treatments they need, wherever they might be in Europe. Your experiences will pave the way for EU policy- and decisions-makers to create a more supportive environment for cross-border clinical trial participation. By working together, we can create a more inclusive and accessible healthcare system. 

Join us in this effort 

Please, take a moment to fill out the surveys. Whether you’re a patient, a caregiver, a doctor, or someone who knows the healthcare ropes—every single experience shared adds up.  

Together, we can make a difference. Thank you for reading this and for considering helping us in this cause. 


(*) Note that this is different from receiving an experimental treatment in a private clinic (often at an extremely high cost), which is something we don’t advocate. New cancer treatments should be evaluated in a controlled setting of a clinical trial, reviewed by the appropriate authorities, at no cost to the patient and with full transparency on the result. 

Liese Vandeborne, Research Manager at the Anticancer Fund
Liese Vandeborne

Liese Vandeborne (MSc) is Operational Manager Patient Information and Senior Research Manager of the Anticancer Fund. Trained as a biomedical scientist, she is driven by a passion to meticulously gather and synthesize accurate, evidence-based information to aid patients in understanding their disease and treatment options.