The Commission presented today its SAMIRA Action Plan – the Strategic Agenda for Medical Ionising Radiation Applications. The Plan will improve EU coordination, ensure that radiological and nuclear technologies continue to benefit the health of EU citizens, and contribute to the fight against cancer and other diseases. This Action Plan is the first follow-up to Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, adopted by the Commission on 3 February.
Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said: “The current pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of health and the need to do everything we can to increase the wellbeing of our citizens. Safe medical use of radiological and nuclear technology is a highly useful tool in our arsenal and is already benefitting hundreds of millions of patients across Europe. This action plan will ensure that the EU continues to be the global leader in supplying medical radioisotopes and developing radiological diagnostics and treatments, while applying the highest quality and safety standards.”
Commissioner for Health and Food safety, Stella Kyriakides, said: “With Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, we will take action to ensure that we screen more, and that we screen better. And to do so, we need to have radiation technology that is safe and of high quality. Radiological imaging is indispensable for early cancer detection and diagnosis, and more than half of cancer patients will undergo radiotherapy. It is an ever-present element in the life of a cancer patient. The SAMIRA Action Plan is our first deliverable under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, and it is an excellent example of collaboration between the energy, health and research communities.”
The SAMIRA Action Plan ensures that EU citizens have access to high-quality radiological and nuclear technologies in medicine with the highest safety standards. The Plan defines actions and measures in three key areas: (i) securing the supply of medical radioisotopes, (ii) improving radiation quality and safety in medicine, and (iii) facilitating innovation and the technological development of medical ionising radiation applications. Actions include:
- The Commission will establish a European Radioisotope Valley Initiative (ERVI) to maintain Europe’s global leadership in the supply of medical radioisotopes and help accelerate the development and introduction of new radioisotopes and production methods.
- The Commission will launch a European Initiative on Quality and Safety of medical applications of ionising radiation, to ensure that diagnostic and therapeutic uses of ionising radiation in Member States operate in line with the highest standards.
- The Commission will create synergies between the Euratom Research and Training Programme and the ‘Health’ cluster of the EU research programme Horizon Europe through the development and implementation of a Research Roadmap for medical applications of nuclear and radiation technology.
A variety of nuclear and radiation technologies play a key role in the fight against cancer. Mammography, computed tomography and other forms of radiological imaging are indispensable technologies for all stages of cancer management. Radiotherapy is among the most effective, efficient and widely-used cancer treatments available to patients and physicians. Nuclear medicine is routinely used for cancer diagnosis and follow-up, and increasingly available for cancer treatment.
With its unique supply network, innovative technology developments and strong clinical research commitment, Europe plays a central role in the nuclear medicine domain. The EU is the leading supplier of medical radioisotopes in the world, with a market share of more than 60% for some of the most widely used radioisotopes. Some of the most important recent pharmaceutical and clinical developments in nuclear medicine cancer treatment originated in the EU.
The SAMIRA actions and initiatives are based on the existing legislative framework. The Action Plan will be implemented through instruments and programmes in the areas of Energy, Health and Research and Innovation.
Compliments of the European Commission.