The International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC) is an organization with a mission to bring together select researchers and organizations for the purpose of developing new therapies for rare diseases as well as the means to diagnose them. Over the years, the EORTC has contributed to improve survival rates for several types of cancer and has a strong track record in the field of rare diseases, and it recognizes the added value of working with other IRDiRC members for the benefit of patients with rare cancers. In this regard, the EORTC’s efforts are well represented by Dr. Denis Lacombe, EORTC Director, who serves on the IRDiRC Executive Committee.
The EORTC has or is conducting some 57 EORTC international clinical trials in various rare disease entities such as lymphomas, melanoma, leukemia, sarcoma, brain, mesothelioma, penal, vulval, salivary gland, male breast and anal cancers. In 2011 the EORTC joined forces with the United States National Cancer Institute, the National Clinical Research Network in the United Kingdom, and Cancer Research UK within the International Rare Cancers Initiative to promote international clinical trials in rare cancers which otherwise lacked infrastructural support.
Through its participation in several European Commission funded projects in rare cancers such as EUROSARC, EEC EURO EWING, IntReALL, and membership in the European Action Against Rare Cancers, the EORTC is well positioned to bring a significant and valuable contribution to IRDiRC.
John Bean, PhD
EORTC, Medical Science Writer