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Innovative Therapies

In keeping with its mission to ensure sustainability of Europe’s healthcare systems and equitable access for all patients to high quality care, EUHA has initiated EUCCAT (European Center for gene & Cellular Cancer Therapies).
EUCCAT is a virtual trans-institutional and trans-national institute that brings together basic research groups, medicinal production facilities, clinical trial capacity and the translational know-how, thus facilitating rapid translation of research results into clinically applicable therapies at ethical prices.

Cell and gene therapies

Cell and gene therapies are at the very centre of healthcare innovation and are the fastest-growing area of therapeutics. They could have a significant impact on treatment and prognosis of many diseases including cancer, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, and many rare diseases. The path leading to registration and clinical use of these therapies is however long and often fraught with difficulties. Add to this the very high price of most of these therapies that are already on the market, leading to real fears that wider application of these therapies may not be sustainable for EU health systems and threatening equitable access of patients to these therapies.

EUCCAT model

EUCCAT works towards a model of decentralised GMP production in specialised hospitals that combine high quality clinical care with clinical and fundamental research. These centres have the expertise in precision medicine that is needed for an efficient evaluation and clinical use of these therapies. This decentralised production model will be complimentary to the existing models of centralised production and would focus primarily on small volume or individualised therapies.

EUCCAT will also strive to facilitate the development of academia-developed therapies into clinical applications. The current regulatory and financial context does not sufficiently facilitate the clinical development of academia-developed therapies; however, EUCCAT believes that a larger input of academia-developed therapies will ultimately benefit all stakeholders and first and foremost the patients. The combined patient access and expertise of EUCCAT’s members will also allow the development of therapies for small-volume diseases. To this end, EUCCAT is experimenting with new models for clinical development based on a collaboration between specialized hospital centres and based on the principles of cost-sharing, fair reward, and ethical pricing.


Johan Van Eldere

Leuven, Belgium

University Hospitals Leuven

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