This October issue of the BIG Research in Focus series, centred on BIG member groups from different regions around the world, describes the breast cancer research situation in Western Europe.
The feature article includes interviews with different breast cancer experts from the BIG network. Breast cancer research groups in Western Europe were among the first to join BIG when it was founded in 1999. Today, they recognise the advantages of a major international research organisation in reducing fragmentation of effort and avoiding duplication. However, escalating clinical trial costs, slower access to novel therapies, COVID-19 and even a major cyber-attack on a national healthcare computer system have been among recent challenges reported by leading oncologists from these groups.
BIG against breast cancer, BIG’s dedicated philanthropy unit within BIG HQ, conducts vital fundraising to support BIG’s clinical trials and research programmes that have no commercial interest but are crucial for breast cancer patients. The funds raised – through the generosity of foundations, companies, ambassadors, and other individuals – contribute to the work of BIG member groups and their affiliated hospitals and help support patient participation in a study. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures, planned events had to be cancelled and we had to re-invent how to reach BIG’s community of supporters, as described in the section “BIG Network”.
In the section “Clinical Trials and Activities”, we include an interview of Professor Martine Piccart and Dr Philippe Aftimos, who provide us with their insights and an update on the AURORA programme on metastatic breast cancer (the study is also referred to as the “The Metastatic Breast Cancer GPS”). To mark Pink October, BIG has just launched an awareness campaign on this advanced form of the disease which remains incurable and is still the number one cause of cancer-related death in women worldwide. For further information and press documents, please read our Pink October press release, AURORA en BIG factsheet.
The section “Other trials and activities by BIG Member Groups” gives a peek at BIG member’s research and related activities around the world. You will also find a few examples of how some BIG member groups address(ed) the pandemic.
Finally, an overview of all the clinical studies and trials run within the BIG network is provided.
We hope you will enjoy the reading!