Cancer is among the leading causes of death and represents a significant burden of disease worldwide. In Europe it is the most important cause of morbidity and death after cardiovascular diseases, with 3 million new cases and 1,7 million deaths each year (Globocan 2012, http://globocan.iarc.fr/). Cancer is a challenge for the public health, it can even become a chronic disease contributing substantially to the growth of medical expenditures and constituting a major socio-economic issue for Europe as well as globally. To address the increasing need at the European level, to reduce incidence and mortality of malignancies and to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, a coordinated effort is necessary. A rapid and effective bidirectional transfer of relevant cancer research findings between bench and bedside would play a pivotal role. The key area of translational cancer research addresses these needs, however, the research efforts in the field should be harmonised and integrated so as to profit from coordination at transnational level.
The ERA-NET TRANSCAN-2 (Aligning national/regional translational cancer research programmes and activities), in continuity with the preceding ERA-NET on translational cancer research TRANSCAN, aims at linking translational cancer research funding programmes among the partners, most of which were also participants in the previous TRANSCAN project. Therefore, the network had already established a model of transnational cooperation encouraging high quality research through competitive funding, as exemplified by the successful implementation of 3 joint transnational calls in the past years. This model allows an efficient use of the dedicated national resources and the coordination of the financial management of multinational research projects aiming as much as possible at the harmonisation of administrative procedures.