In the February 2016 issue of Haematologica, critical research of blood and blood-forming organs in Europe is given a boost. The European Hematology Association Roadmap for European Hematology Research: A Consensus Document summarizes the current status of basic, translational and clinical hematology research and identifies areas of unmet scientific and medical need in Europe. It provides guidance for European and national policy makers, funding agencies, charities, research institutes and researchers when they make decisions on initiating or funding research and developing research programs.
“For the first time, hematologists in Europe came together to develop a roadmap to guide hematology research in Europe” says Professor Andreas Engert, chair of the EHA Research Roadmap Task Force, “Hematology in Europe has achieved a lot, but the discipline must focus and collaborate to be efficient and remain successful in improving patient outcomes. The Roadmap does just that and will determine the research agenda in Europe in the coming years.”
Under the leadership of Andreas Engert, his Task Force and eleven section editors, some three hundred experts from over twenty countries in Europe, including clinicians, basic researchers and patients, were involved in drafting the Research Roadmap. Stakeholders such as national hematology societies, patient organizations, hematology trial groups and other European organizations (e.g. in overlapping disease areas) were consulted to comment on the final draft version. “This means that the subtitle ‘A consensus document’ is particularly appropriate: the document reflects the views of the hematological research community in Europe. This is crucial,” says Professor Tony Green, president of EHA, “if we want to convince policy makers to support the realization of this important research.”
“Now’s the time for Europe to pay attention,” states Professor Ulrich Jäger, chair of the EHA European Affairs Committee. He goes on: “With an aging population, the slow recovery from the financial and Euro crises, costly medical breakthroughs and innovations – quite a few of which involve hematology researchers, Europe faces increased health expenditures while budgets are limited. Policy makers are rightfully cautious when spending the taxpayers’ money. So it is our responsibility to provide the policy makers with the information and evidence they need to decide where their support impacts knowledge and health most efficiently, to the benefit of patients and society. The Research Roadmap delivers on that. Now it is up to the policy makers in the EU to deliver too.”