Joint Statement for the Announcement of the ATTRACT-Call

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International call for research proposals on rare cancer drug development

Five European anti-cancer charities join forces to stimulate international research on the treatment of rare cancers. We are excited to announce the ATTRACT-call, the first international call to accelerate drug development for rare cancers through cross-border clinical academic research. We invite European researchers and clinicians from different countries to unite and collaborate. The focus of the ATTRACT-call is on late phase (phase 2/3), collaborative, international clinical trials that aim to advance the development of better drug therapy for rare cancers. The call has an indicative budget of up to 12 million euros and opens end November 2022.

Rare cancers account for as many as 20% of new cancer cases. Yet, for most of them, there are hardly any specific, effective drugs available, leaving patients with limited or no treatment options. Main hurdle for rare cancer drug development is the small patient populations, resulting in limited interest from the industry and difficulties in setting up clinical trials with adequate statistical power. International collaborations are necessary, and require appropriate funding.

Multinational, multicenter clinical trials

Therefore, 5 European anti-cancer charities join forces to give an impulse to the field of rare cancer research: FC AECC (Spain), Anticancer Fund (Belgium), Fondation ARC (France), Kom op tegen Kanker (Belgium) and KWF Dutch Cancer Society (the Netherlands), jointly set up this call to stimulate international research on rare cancer drug development. Applicants from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain are invited to submit collaborative proposals and are welcome to involve inclusion centers from other countries as well.

Carla van Gils, executive director Dutch Cancer Society: 'The Netherlands is a small country, but big in research and collaboration. By looking across the border and joining forces with foreign partners, we can make important steps for people with rare cancer.'

Better treatment for patients with rare cancers

We are excited to pioneer with this partnership to tackle the funding gap for international research projects, especially in the field of rare cancer therapeutics. Our ambitious aim is to improve the treatment of rare cancers by helping new drug innovations from research into clinical practice, making the best possible treatments accessible to rare cancer patients everywhere. We jointly set up this call to stimulate academic and/or clinical/public health sector research groups to set up innovative transnational projects addressing this challenge.     

Information for applicants

For more information on the scope and requirements of the call, please refer to our guidelines. Specific Guidelines for Applicants of the ATTRACT-Call will be announced on the call-website prior to opening of the call and will be based on the current Guidelines and Conditions of the five participating funding organizations. Dedicated Question & Answer Sessions (webinar) for applicants will be held online early December and early January.