- Name: International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
- Country of origin and area of intervention: Based in France, the IARC is an international agency that coordinates research projects around the world. The Centre has a particular interest in conducting research in low- and mediumresource countries through partnerships and collaborations with researchers in these regions.
- Creation date: 1965
- Status: Intergovernmental agency for cancer research, established by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Number of employees/volunteers: 360
- Annual budget: €45,371,329 (2022-2023)
- Up to 50% of cancers could be avoided through prevention.
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is a specialised agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
- Its objective is to promote international collaboration in cancer research and to co-ordinate international studies on both the causes of cancer and the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, enabling the development of strategies to prevent cancer-prevention strategies.
- The IARC is an interdisciplinary body bringing together expertise in epidemiology, biostatistics and laboratory disciplines in order to identify the causes of cancer and thus enable the adoption of preventive measures to reduce the burden and suffering associated with the disease.
- The IARC’s activities are focused on low and middle-income countries, where the need is greatest and cancer is too often a neglected disease.
- The IARC’s independence enables it to provide both reliable and objective estimates.
- Dr Elisabete Weiderpass, IARC Director, is an expert member of the Mission Board for Cancer, contributing to the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for 2021-2027. The IARC’s expertise will inform primary and secondary cancer prevention initiatives and help to assess progress towards the goals of the Cancer Mission and the European Cancer Plan.
- IARC conducts numerous studies in Europe and works with a large network of European collaborators. Together with its partners, it is coordinating the EPIC («European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition») study, one of the largest cohort studies in the world, with more than half a million participants recruited in ten European countries and monitored for almost 15 years. This study analyses the relationships between diet, lifestyle and environmental factors, and the occurrence of cancer and other chronic diseases.
- The IARC also coordinates the European Code Against Cancer (ECAC), a European Commission initiative to inform citizens about what they can do for themselves and their families to reduce the risk of cancer.
- The IARC aims to describe cancer, understand its causes and build countries’ capacities to control this disease.
Setting a global benchmark for epidemiological data on cancer:
- Through its support for cancer registries, the Agency plays a major role in describing the burden of cancer globally.
- The «Cancer Incidence in Five Continents» series and the Global Cancer Observatory are among the Agency’s key projects.
- The classification of human tumours, published in the WHO «Blue Book» series, is a key resource for researchers and clinicians worldwide.
Our areas of intervention
Global cancer biobank
- The IARC manages a biobank of around 6 million samples from all over the world. This resource uses innovative laboratory techniques to study the causes, early detection and prevention of cancer through collaborative studies involving many international partners.
Education and training
- The education and training of cancer researchers worldwide are essential aspects of the IARC’s mission. The Agency provides research grants, organises courses and disseminates its publications, particularly to researchers from low- and middle-income countries.
Scientific studies in support of global cancer control policies
- Through its links with the World Health Organisation, the Agency’s research findings are rapidly and effectively used to inform cancer control policies. Examples include cooperative measures to reduce tobacco consumption and the roll-out of vaccination against cancer-causing viruses, in addition to the assessment of the effectiveness of different intervention strategies.
«A new Director, a new decade, and a new building for a new beginning!»
- The IARC is currently engaged in a period of transformation likely to establish it as the world leader in cancer research. The move to the New Centre in 2022 marks a turning point for the IARC and embodies its new ambition to be at the heart of cutting-edge research in the global health field. The emphasis is placed on the principle of open science and true collaboration, to give the IARC the means to achieve its goal of reducing the burden and suffering caused by cancer, now and for future generations: www.jesoutiens.iarc.fr