Among cancer treatment types, radiation therapy is the choice for the majority of patients and is a non-invasive option, already leading to tissue and organ preservation in the treatment of cancer in breast, larynx and eyes. Radiotherapy is also an alternative for certain types of cancer (e.g. for some forms of lung cancer) that cannot be cured through surgery.
Importantly, radiotherapy is a cost-effective treatment that accounts only for 5% of the total cancer care budget when compared with other treatment types, and a survival rate equal or greater than chemotherapy. Nevertheless, a number of patients fail to have their cancer eradicated due to metastasis or tumour regrowth.
Recent advances in radiotherapy have brought novel radiation delivery techniques and high precision imaging for better targeting, allowing escalation of the radiation dose and shorter treatment times. In spite of this, there has been no clear association between increasing dose delivery and therapeutic benefit, which depend on several factors, such as tumour radioresistance and treatment side-effects.
Moreover, the latest radiotherapy delivery techniques come with huge costs and require highly specialised staff and large facilities, complicating its implementation in hospitals.
Thus, Europe urgently needs scientists with an interdisciplinary knowledge and experience to solve problems in cancer biology. The RADIATE network achieves this by bringing together a team of researchers from pre-eminent academic institutions, with complementary expertise as well as research and training infrastructures, dedicated to multidisciplinary training.