New pan-European Palliative Care Research Centre established

A first-ever pan-European centre devoted to improving patient palliative care and end-of-life care was officially launched Thursday, October 15, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), with the opening of the European Palliative Care Research Centre.

 

The centre is based at NTNU’s Faculty of Medicine and at St. Olavs Hospital/Trondheim University Hospital.

Strength in international research
“We are too small and too few not to work together across national borders”, says Professor Stein Kaasa, who is the leader of the new centre as well as a researcher at the NTNU Faculty of Medicine’s Pain and Palliation Research Group. The formation of the new centre was announced at the 4th International Trondheim Conference on Palliative Care, held in Trondheim on Oct. 15-16.

The centre will focus on coordinating efforts between groups and individual researchers across Europe, specifically Scotland, England, Italy, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, along with the USA, Canada and Australia. Researchers hope to boost the amount of international multicentre studies, as well as to create an international PhD programme to educate young researchers in palliative care and to initiate and develop evidence-based guidelines for palliative care.

Support from the Norwegian Cancer Centre crucial
The Norwegian Cancer Society has awarded a major grant of 15 million NOK (1.8 million euro) to help establish the new centre. Additional support has been awarded by the Open Society Institute in the United States, the Floriani Foundation in Milan, Italy, and Nycomed, the pharmaceutical company.

“It is well acknowledged within the scientific field of palliative care that international collaboration is urgently needed in order to conduct sufficiently sized studies, as well as to evaluate the effect of new treatment strategies”, says Dr. Augusto Caraceni, with the Italian National Cancer Institute and vice president of the European Association for Palliative Care. Caraceni has been named director of international affairs for the new centre. “Such a research strategy will need funding. The establishment of the centre, through the very generous grant from the Norwegian Cancer Society, makes this possible.”

Open to all palliative care researchers
The centre will be based on an open invitation to all active researchers in palliative care to participate. It was established in Trondheim partly in recognition of the ability of the NTNU Faculty of Medicine’s Pain and Palliation Research Group to quickly translate the results of clinical research into new patient treatment. “I have been collaborating with the Pain and Palliation Research Group at the Faculty of Medicine, NTNU, for almost a decade” Caraceni said. “The group in Trondheim is at the forefront in palliative care research in Europe and worldwide, with their capacity to plan and conduct translational research from bench to bedside, and their vision of a European research agenda across national borders is internationally recognized.”