Fondation MEDIC

Cancer research


The primary goal of the MEDIC support has been biomedical research in the field of Cancer. The choice has been made to support research that bridges the gap between basic laboratory investigations and clinical studies, an area which has become known as translational research. Translational research is often described as 'from bench to bedside and back' indicating that new findings in basic laboratory studies will be applied in a clinical setting but also that observations in the clinical setting can be the starting point for new research projects. It is often felt that too much time is involved in getting new insight in the pathological processes responsible for disease into new diagnostic procedures and treatments and translational research intends to reduce that time frame. Most of the MEDIC funding is dedicated to projects that are translational.

Research support is provided in the form of grants which run for a three year period. Grant applications are solicited from members of the consortium in the final year of their running grant. New applications are peer reviewed and when favourably assessed by independent reviewers can be funded, depending on the priorities set within the consortium and the level of funding available. The choice has been made not to solicit applications outside the consortium, as the likely significant flow of applications would require the creation of a relatively expensive office, whereas it is the intention of the Foundation to spend as much as possible the available resources directly on research. This approach has its risks: open competition as a rule improves the quality of the funded projects. In order to keep high quality research, the grant review procedure, the annual MEDIC meeting where progress is reviewed in the presence of the Scientific Advisory Board, and the annual reports, likewise reviewed by the SAB provide some guarantees that the research conducted is outstanding. Over time, the consortium has managed to whittle out weaker projects and, partly through new collaborations within the consortium, to develop new collaborative activities.

The thematic orientation of the Consortium is 'Tumor – host interaction'. This is a timely topic, as it is now generally understood that in the behaviour of cancer not only the intrinsic characteristics of the cancer cells play a role but also the reaction of the host organism (or in simple terms: the patient's body). The theme determines on the one hand the overall orientation of the Consortium but on the other hand leaves a lot of freedom, between hormonal influences, the stromal response and tumor immunology and immunotherapy.