Interreg – Oncocare Project
Cancer is a growing challenge for society. Its incidence increases with the aging of the population and cancer is turning into a chronic disease. Beside progress in classical treatment approaches, many innovative therapies are emerging. Beyond survival, better quality-of-life and costs become prominent issues. To face these challenges, academic hospitals and universities are developing comprehensive cancer centers, integrating multidisciplinary care managed in a quality-oriented manner, clinical / translational research and teaching. A focus on patient and innovation allows creating organized networks, in which cooperation is set forth instead of competition. Thus, Oncocare Project gathers teams from 6 academic institutions dedicated to providing optimized care to patients in the Euregio, constantly seeking to improve service.
Besides Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC +) and Maastricht University, the German and Belgian hospitals RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Liège Cancer Institute (CHU), and Jessa Hospital Hasselt (Jessa) participate in the Oncocare project, as well as the University of Liege, RWTH Aachen University and the organization Bridge2Health (b2h) from Liege. The Liège Cancer Institute is the lead partner of the project.
Project objectives and activities
The main objective of the Oncocare Project is to optimize the care of cancer patients within the Euregio Meuse-Rhine. The cross-border cooperation aims to improve cancer patients' access to innovative therapy concepts and personalized cancer medicine. This goal is to be achieved through various measures with a focus on patient-centered medicine, quality of care and the transfer of innovations to the clinic.
What are Interreg projects?
Interreg is part of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy. The funding program addresses disparities between regions and encourages cross-border collaboration. Its objective is the economic, social and territorial development of Europe’s regions.
The teleconsulting system is being expanded to promote the exchange of medical expertise between the hospitals. This creates the possibility of exchanging expertise from the various locations to agree on optimal therapy concepts. Another focus is the introduction of a smartphone-compatible app that can be operated autonomously by the patient to record quality of life. Modern medicine strives not only to improve life expectancy, but also to improve the patients’ quality of life. The “Home Hospitalization” measure, which is intended to bring oncological care to the patients' home environment, also contributes to this. Older patients and patients in rural regions in particular benefit from this measure.
Quality of care
The cancer registries of the hospitals work more closely together and comparative analyzes are carried out as part of quality assurance.
Furthermore the hospitals of Aachen and Liege work together on the European JACIE accreditation in the field of blood stem cell transplants. In addition, software is being developed to handle all processes in connection with blood stem cell transplants.
Access to innovative treatment
One of the aims is the implementation of personalized and innovative cancer medicine in the Euregio. This includes the joint establishment of evidence-based treatment pathways, including innovative diagnostic and therapeutic options. The participating hospitals will make the treatment pathways in which they have the greatest expertise available to the partners and other hospitals in the region. In addition, a database is being created for the exchange and comparison of existing clinical study activities between the hospitals, taking into account rare tumor diseases or rare subtypes of common tumor diseases.