Cancer is a major health problem in developed societies. It is anticipated that by 2015, close to 100.000 people in the Netherlands will be affected by cancer every year. Without further improvements in treatment approximately 50.000 will die from the disease. Multiply these numbers by 20 and you have a picture of those affected across Europe. The ageing of the population is responsible for the rise in the incidence of cancer, which will soon make the disease the primary cause of death for males and females alike at young, middle and old age. The disease furthermore has enormous mental and physical impact on patients and their relatives. Thus, improving diagnosis, therapy and cure rates for cancer patients are of great importance for all those affected as well as for society as a whole.
The mission of the CGC is
(1) to strengthen cancer genomics research in the Netherlands striving for better understanding of the cancer process so as to form a basis for the development of novel diagnostic and prognostic tools and the development of new therapeutic modalities;
(2) to strengthen the knowledge chain to commercialize results obtained so as to add economic value to society;
(3) to improve communication with relevant societal stakeholders;
(4) to establish a platform for cancer research, valorisation and communication to be continued after 2012.
The ambition of the CGC is to further establish and expand its world-leadership in key aspects of cancer genomics, including the development of new genomics-based diagnostic and prognostic tools, the establishment of a complete picture of the genetic changes that turn a normal cell into a cancer cell, the characterisation and development of new targets for prevention and therapeutic intervention, the valorisation and commercialisation of the knowledge obtained and the improvement of communication regarding the impact of cancer genomics (research) on society.
The CGC brings together prominent cancer research groups from the Netherlands Cancer Institute, the Hubrecht Institute, the Erasmus Medical Center and the University Medical Center Utrecht. Participants contribute complementary expertise combined with the largest collection of clinical material, patient databases and clinical expertise in the Netherlands. The CGC was established in October 2002 with a 15.1 million euro, five-year grant from the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI). Based on an ‘excellent’ score from an international review committee, an additional grant of 24 million euro was awarded for the period 2008-2012.