A conference on the Future of Independent Academic Clinical Research in Europe is being organized by the Royal Academies of Medicine of Belgium under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. As a member of the Royal Academies of Medicine of Belgium, Prof. Françoise Meunier, Director General of the EORTC, will chair this conference which will be held on 2 September 2010 at the Palais des Académies in Brussels. There will be a prestigious panel of speakers from academia in Europe including Prof. Harald zur Hausen, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer.
One of the issues being raised and addressed with practical proposals during the Belgian Presidency will be the future of independent academic clinical research and the challenges associated with the legal frame work. In this light, the Future of Independent Academic Clinical Research in Europe conference will address the importance, but also the threats, of independent academic clinical research (Investigator-Driven Clinical Trials) in Europe and will highlight problems related to the implementation of the European Directive on the implementation of good clinical practice in the conduct of clinical trials on medicinal products for human use (2001/20/EC) and the lack of harmonization of national regulations.
Another objective of this conference is to discuss potential ethical problems of conducting clinical research and the barriers to conduct translational research requiring the collection and the use of human biological material and personal data. Promoting high quality independent academic clinical research in Europe does not mean the absence of collaboration with industry. Indeed, it is important to promote new models of collaboration with industry.
In addition, this conference will address the need to consider appropriate funding for independent academic clinical research in Europe. Finally, this conference will aim to discuss and produce practical recommendations to be presented to decision makers.
The target audience is composed by clinical trial investigators, academic sponsors, European Commission, European Medicines Agency, EU Parliament, Ethic Committees, National Competent Authorities, decision makers, health care providers, insurers and patient organisations.
An article written by Pr. Meunier on the need for more academic research and the creation of a European Investigator-Driven Clinical Trials Fund appeared recently in Public Service Review: European Union: issue 19, pages 228-229.
Stéphane Lejeune and John Bean