Lung cancer policy network meets our co-founder

From Lung cancer policy network blog post

We speak to Ebba Hallersjö Hult, Co-founder and Head of Vision Zero Cancer, a mission-oriented innovation hub coordinated by Stockholm School of Economics Institute for Research, Sweden.

What led you to work in the field of lung cancer?

I have a background in political science and international relations, and I am one of the founders of Vision Zero Cancer, a multi-stakeholder platform against cancer which was established in November 2019.

With Vision Zero Cancer, we decided to start with lung cancer as it is the most common cause of cancer-related death among both men and women in Sweden. Lung cancer is associated with great suffering and economic burden for the people with the disease and society. Today we have the technological means to detect lung cancer earlier and treat it more effectively, to transform lung cancer from a deadly disease to one that is chronic or curable. Now, we just need to implement these technologies into routine care.

Eliminating lung cancer as a cause of death requires a holistic approach that is effective across two axes: 1) prevention—early detection—treatment—quality of life; and 2) research—translation—implementation. At Vision Zero Cancer, we are therefore building a holistic project portfolio – ranging from early detection and screening of lung cancer, to implementation of precision medicine, and new organisational models and tools for prevention, rehabilitation and quality of life. In addition, we are investing in research into ecosystem development. We are also developing methodology to build a collaborative innovation capacity. Our ambition is to increase the impact of innovation through new forms of governance and collaboration.

What does an average work-day look like for you?

As well as leading the coordination of Vision Zero Cancer, I oversee a national testbed for precision diagnostics and clinical trials in precision cancer medicine, which is a spin-off flagship project that we created together with Genomic Medicine Sweden and SciLifeLab. I lead our operations from Stockholm School of Economics Institute for Research, and I have a team of colleagues across Sweden.

Managing large consortia with a comprehensive project portfolio and many different stakeholders across various sectors is a true exercise in mission orchestration. Every day I learn something new.

A typical day involves several meetings, policy work and management tasks. I spend a lot of time with partners, steering groups in different projects, and participates in workshops or seminars – in Sweden and abroad. I also take an active role in organising and hosting study visits, workshops and other events as part of the convenor and catalyst function that Vision Zero Cancer plays in the Swedish cancer ecosystem.

I also work across three European Union (EU) projects related to the implementation of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Mission on cancer: Establishing of Cancer Mission Hubs (ECHoS), Personalised Cancer Medicine for all EU citizens (PCM4EU), and Precision Cancer Medicine Repurposing System Using Pragmatic Clinical Trials (PRIME-ROSE).

In addition to the Lung Cancer Policy Network, I am a member of All.Can and I represent Vision Zero Cancer in DigiCore and ECO Community 365.

What is working well in your country, and what could be improved?

All Swedish residents are covered by health services, and results are comparably good when measuring performance of cancer care, with low cancer mortality and high cancer survival rates. The quality of cancer care has continued to improve in recent decades following the launch of a National Cancer Strategy in 2009. The strategy included  establishing regional cancer centres, enhancing multidisciplinary teams’ decision-making skills, regularly updated national clinical guidelines, and rapid access to new medicines, as well as further development of clinical quality. In Sweden, cancer costs are slightly higher per person than the EU average.

Prevalence of risk factors for cancer is generally low in Sweden, but some disparities between socioeconomic groups are concerning, which is something we need to work on. While prevalence of smoking in Sweden is the lowest in the EU, the difference between people on higher and lower incomes is among the largest.

Sweden has three nationwide, population-based outreach screening programmes that are tax-financed and free of charge for the target populations. Coverage rates for breast and cervical cancer screening are among the highest in the EU, but there are persisting disparities in participation from people with different levels of income and education.

An updated cancer strategy is currently being developed, with a focus on improving early detection, rehabilitation, and the transition from childhood to adult cancer care. The new strategy will also look at the implementation of precision diagnostics and treatment, e.g. whole-genome sequencing as clinical routine for all children living with cancer.

The prognosis for lung cancer has improved during the last decade thanks to advanced diagnosis and treatment methods. Despite this, the five-year survival rate is only around 24% for men and 31% for women.

Vision Zero Cancer has contributed to the policymaking process with a national health economic assessment conducted by the Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE), proving the value of lung cancer screening. We have also supported policy decision-making through two independent studies on attitudes towards participation in lung cancer screening among Swedish native speakers and foreign-born Swedish citizens within the target population. Both studies, conducted by Kantar Sifo AB and The Social Few, showed that 9 in 10 smokers and ex-smokers were positive about participating in lung cancer screening. The overwhelming majority of study participants preferred to get information about screening when visiting a general practitioner, health centre or an existing screening programme.

A first lung cancer screening pilot project is ongoing in Stockholm, with promising results. I hope this will lead to the decision to start preparing for the implementation of a nation-wide screening programme.

What motivated you to join the Lung Cancer Policy Network?

I was invited to join the Lung Cancer Policy Network through colleagues at AstraZeneca, one of the founding partners of Vision Zero Cancer. We share the overarching ambition to eliminate lung cancer as a cause of death.

What would you like to see from the Network as it develops?

The Network is a great initiative to join forces across the globe, learn from each other and build momentum for the implementation of lung cancer screening – taking a systems perspective.

The Network has already developed many useful resources in a collaborative way, which is highly appreciated. Now we must make sure these resources are widely circulated so they can be used practically.

It is important to maintain an agile way of working, and a collaborative spirit, as the Network grows and evolves over time. It is important to continue to create and publish resources on implementation across the globe, as well as to participate in international congresses and national events.

What changes would you like to see in lung cancer care on a global level?

Today we have the technological means to detect lung cancer earlier and treat it more effectively, to transform lung cancer from a deadly disease to a chronic or curable one. Now, we just need to implement these technologies into routine care. There is no single answer as to how to do this, but we do know that no one can do it on their own, and that we need to think and collaborate in new ways.

More investment is needed in research and across the care pathway, including primary and secondary prevention. The single most important measure for curing people is early detection. Today, too many get diagnosis of lung cancer at a late stage, as early symptoms can be diffuse and difficult to detect. I would like to see equitable access to targeted screening, early detection and precision diagnostics for targeted treatment.

What recent research have you found the most interesting or exciting?

The development of novel predictive biomarkers and therapeutic targets, leading the way for the next generation of precision medicine and improving clinical outcomes. We greatly increase the chances for successful treatment with early detection and screening. There is hope for a cure.

Outside of work, what do you spend your time doing?

I live with my family on an island in the Stockholm archipelago with fantastic wildlife and nature where we enjoy walks, golf, water sports and boating in the summer, and cross-country skiing and skating in the winter. Above all, I enjoy travelling, and interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures. In addition to Sweden, I have had the opportunity to study and work in Italy, Spain and Ukraine, which I believe has shaped my character. My Scottish grandmother gave me my motto: ‘the world is a book, and he who stays at home reads only the first page’.

The Lung Cancer Policy Network brings together a unique mix of experts in lung cancer from around the world, united in their passion to eliminate lung cancer as a cause of death.

We regularly share profiles of our members so that you can find out more about what led them to work in lung cancer and what changes they would like to see in lung cancer prevention and care on a global level.

Workshop on “Measuring Impact” at House of Innovation

House of Innovation in collaboration with the Department of Accounting at Stockholm School of Economics orgianizes two Workshops on Measuring Impact of Mission Driven Innovation Collaborations during this fall.

Private and public organizations increasingly join forces to solve complex societal challenges, such as the challenge to push healthcare towards prevention and personalized medicine.

The question is how to assess what such inter-organizational collaborations accomplish. How can ‘progress’, ‘performance’ or ‘impact’ be thought of in these contexts, where aims are often far-reaching and materializing in the long-term future.

During the two workshops this autumn 2023 where we will explore these issues by discussing how to measure, what to measure, when to measure, and why to measure. These workshops will serve as a continuation of the WS some of you attended at Leading Health Care in 2022.

The first workshop takes place September 28th at Stockholm School of Economics/House of Innovation (9-12). 

Workshop 1

Lukas Goretzki and Roel Boomsma, both researchers with expertise in the area of impact measurement, impact reporting and accountability, will introduce core definitions and models, and engage you in an exercise allowing you to apply insights on your context (Vision Zero Cancer/Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer). The following themes will be covered:

  • Introducing core definitions and perspectives drawing on management accounting knowledge and impact pathways knowledge
  • Impact or beyond performance?
  • For whom to measure, and who should measure? (Inside out vs outside in; Upward vs downward accountability; Imposed vs felt accountability).
  • What are you measuring now? Why? And how can impact measurement be(come) more meaningful for steering an organization?
  • Measuring and demonstrating impact
  • Making soft measures hard
  • Examples from NGOs, private sector, social enterprises, etc
  • Interactive part/task

The workshop will be led by Lukas Goretzki (Stockholm School of Economics) and Roel Boomsma (University of Sydney) supported by Anna Essén and Jelena Angelis.

Presentations

Measuring & Demonstrating Impact by Professor Lukas Goretzki

Measuring & Demonstrating Impact by Dr. Roel Boomsma

Workshop 2

The second workshop takes place in November/December, (date TBD), where Jelena Angelis (House of Innovation, Stockholm School of Economics) will introduce a specific framework for mapping impact. She will run an interactive workshop where you can apply this framework The following themes will be covered:

  • Introduction of the impact pathway tool
  • Charting the pathway for Vision Zero Cancer/Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer

Led by Jelena Angelis supported by Anna Essén

Presentations will be made available after the workshop!

Read more about House of Innovation and mission driven innovation here!

Official Opening of the Horizon EU Cancer Mission PRIME-ROSE project

Photo by Per Marius Didriksen, OUH.

Official Opening of the Horizon EU Cancer Mission PRIME-ROSE project

The PRIME-ROSE kick-off took place in Oslo on September 19-20 and gathered around 70 participants from different partners across Europe.

PRIME-ROSE builds on a bottom-up, investigator-initiated family of clinical trials in precision cancer medicine, which have successfully brought up inclusion rates to offer additional lines of treatment and provide patient benefit. PRIME-ROSE will use these adaptive and pragmatic clinical trial platforms to answer key questions regarding clinical effectiveness, provide health-economic evaluations, and contribute to scientific progress across cancers. At the kick-off in Oslo, PRIME-ROSE partners and key stakeholders met to go through the work plan and acceleratethe start-up of the project tasks.

The PRIME-ROSE vision is access to affordable precision cancer medicine that prolongs life at the best quality possible for all cancer patients. PRIME-ROSE organizes a growing ecosystem with distributed leadership across Europe focused on precision cancer medicine implementation. PRIME-ROSE also collaborates closely with the EU4Health project PCM4EU, that started inJanuary and in particular focuses on precision cancer medicine diagnostics.

PRIME-ROSE Coordinator Kjetil Taskén says: “Most importantly, PRIME-ROSE will allow us to search around Europe to find patients with rare combinations of cancer disease, biomarker, and treatment in parallel ongoing trials to build the evidence of what treatments are working for patients. This is a “triple-win” – for patients, investigators and industry partners – as we will build the knowledge base faster and more effectively”.

The public part of the PRIME-ROSE kick-off included the session “The growing ecosystem of DRUP-like clinical trials and European-wide initiatives PCM4EU & PRIME-ROSE” in the ACTA Oncologica Nordic Precision Cancer Medicine Symposium and took place on September 19. Here, all the PIs from the DRUP-like clinical trials in PRIME-ROSE gave short updates, followed by a panel discussion. The internal part of the kick-off took place at the Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital on September 20. During this session, all eight work-package leaders presented their planned work in a nutshell and drew time-lines for upcoming deliverables and milestones.

Work package 1 lead by Hans Gelderblom (LUMC) will build a data aggregation platform and focus on data sharing. Ragnhild S. Falk (Oslo University Hospital, OUH) will lead the work on models for randomized external control arms in work package 2, whereas Åslaug Helland(OUH) leads work package 3, focusing on designing expansion cohorts. Work package 4 lead by Sahar B. van Waalwijk vanDoorn-Khosrovani (LUMC) will work with reimbursement strategies, and workpackage 5 lead by Katarina Steen Carlsson (Swedish Institute for Health Economics) will address the health technology assessment (HTA) challenges with precision cancer medicine. Bettina Ryll (Testbed Sweden) leads work package 6, focusing on developing the ecosystem and the corresponding need for social innovation. Finally, Katriina Jalkanen (Helsinki University Hospital) will be responsible for dissemination in work package 8.

Nordic Precision Cancer Medicine Conference

We are looking forward to participating at the Nordic Precision Cancer Medicine conference in Oslo during next week. In addition, it will be great to take the opportunity to get together with our friends and colleagues in the PCM4EU and PRIME-ROSE projects with focus on implementation of precision cancer medicine across the Nordics and Europe. 

We hope you will take the chance to listen to our colleagues contributing during the conference such as in Session 3 on Health economics, Implementation and Policies. Katrina Steen Carlsson, IHE will be speaking about the implementation of precision cancer medicine and economic evaluation for Health Technology Assessment and how we work with this in Sweden within the new national PCM study and Bettina Ryll, Vision Zero Cancer, will be speaking about connecting precision medicine ecosystems across Europe.

Read more about the conference and the program visit Nordic Precision Cancer Medicine NPCM2023

Launch new website for Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer

We have now launched the new website for our Flagship initiative Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer. Welcome to visit the site:

The first PCM4EU podcast episodes are live!

In episode 2 and 3, we meet Sahar Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn-Khosrovani, PhD and Pharmacist, Medicine & Society at CZ Health Insurance and Member of the National Payer’s Evaluation Committee for Specialized Medicines and Companion Diagnostics (CieBAG). This committee decides on the reimbursement of medicines and molecular diagnostics in The Netherlands. Furthermore, she is affiliated with Leiden University Medical Center. In episode 2, Sahar talks about pragmatic reimbursement in DRUP-like clinical trials and in episode 3, access and funding of Molecular Tumor Boards are addressed, using The Netherlands as an example.

PCM4EU is happy to announce that the first four episodes in our podcast series are now available both on the PCM4EU YouTube channel and on our training webpages.


From breakthrough to follow through in radiotherapy

Today we hosted a multi-stakeholder cancer meeting together with The Embassy of Sweden in Vienna and our co-founder Elekta. On the topic “From breakthrough to follow through in radiotherapy” in the context of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of EU and the ongoing ESTRO Congress.

We were delighted that so many joined us in the dynamic dialogue on the implementation of EU Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Cancer Mission with a special focus on radiotherapy, the too often forgotten critical component of comprehensive cancer care in Europe and across the world.

The meeting featured presentations and interactive discussions on how to capitalize on the momentum in the EU to translate research and innovation to patient benefit, highlighting what needs to be done and how we can collaborate more intensively to accelerate implementation and ensure greater equality and access to innovative radiotherapy to all eligible patients. The role of Comprehensive Cancer Centers, mission-oriented innovation and cancer mission hubs will be key ingredients.

This interactive meeting took place on May 12 at the Embassy of Sweden in Vienna and brought together experts from cancer care, academia, industry, public sector and civil society. It was a follow-up of the cancer conference organized in Stockholm on the 31st of January and we were so happy that Professor Mark Lawler joined us to present the European Groundshot Lancet Oncology Commission report, this time focusing on radiation oncology. The program with all speakers and panellists is published below!



BIOGRAPHY SPEAKERS AND PANELISTS

Professor Mark Lawler
HDR UK Associate Director at Queens University Belfast

Mark is an internationally renowned scientist with over 200 papers including key publications in the highest impact journals. His work has been recognised by numerous national and international awards. He is Associate Director of Health Data Research Wales-Northern Ireland which is driving innovative precision medicine and public health approaches through the use of Big Data. He is Scientific Director of DATA-CAN, the UK’s National Health Data Research Hub for Cancer. Mark has a strong commitment to patient-centred research/care and to addressing cancer inequalities. He was architect of the European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights, which he launched in the European Parliament with colleagues on World Cancer Day 2014. The Bill of Rights received The 2018 European Health Award, a prestigious award for partnerships that yield real health impact in Europe. Mark’s work on addressing inequalities and access issues in relation to cancer care formed the centrepiece in the development by the European Cancer Organisation of the European Code of Cancer Practice, which Mark launched (virtually) with EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides in Brussels in September 2020 Mark’s work on Covid-19 and its impact on cancer services and cancer patients has received international attention and he co-chairs the European Cancer Organisation’s (E.C.O) Special Focused Network on Covid-19 and cancer, which launched its 7-Point plan to Build Back Better (and smarter) from Covid. He presented recent data on Covid’s impact on cancer in Europe to the Europe Beating Cancer Committee in the European Parliament and launched E.C.Os pan European Time To Act Campaign to ensure that Covid-19 does not stop us from tackling cancer. This work recently received the prestigious Royal College of Physicians Excellence in Patient Care Award. Mark recently received the Irish Association for Cancer Research’s Outstanding Contribution to cancer research award, for his pioneering work on cancer research and cancer care on the island of Ireland. Mark is Chair of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership, an international collaborative that employs a data- driven approach to improve outcomes for cancer patients.


Prof. Yolande Lievens
Chair of the radiation oncology department, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent University, Belgium

Prof. Yolande is the current chair of the radiation oncology department of the Ghent University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium, and associate professor at the Ghent University. She graduated from the Catholic University in Leuven, where she acquired her degrees in Medicine, Radiation Oncology and Hospital and Health Care Management, and completed her PhD in cost-accounting and economic evaluation of radiotherapy. Her clinical focus lies on radiation therapy for thoracic malignancies, with an additional interest for the role of radiotherapy in hematology, breast cancer and oligometastatic disease. Apart from the clinics, she has always been closely involved in the organizational aspects of radiotherapy, in the position of radiotherapy within multidisciplinary oncology and in the financial and health economic aspects of cancer care. As a natural consequence, global oncology has also become one of her focuses. Finally, she is interested in quality issues in radiation oncology, not only in terms of quality assurance but also regarding the impact of radiation treatments on quality of life and patient-reported outcomes. She has a broad professional and scientific collaboration with national and international organizations, such as the Belgian Knowledge Centre and the Belgian Cancer Registry, the Belgian College for Physicians in Radiation Oncology, the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO), the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Amongst others, she is co-chairing the ESTRO Health Economics in Radiation Oncology (HERO) project and primary investigator of the EORTC/ESTRO E2-RADIATE project. She is former president of ESTRO and of the Belgian College for Physicians in Radiation Oncology. She is one of the experts appointed to co-develop the revised reimbursement system of radiotherapy in Belgium. She is convinced that an optimal combination of clinical, translational and health services research is key to the future of radiation oncology and to advance the outcome of cancer patients, by sustaining.


Ms. Eva Jolly
Chief Coordinating Officer at Karolinska Comprehensive Cancer Centre

Eva Jolly current position is as Chief Coordinating Officer at Karolinska Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Stockholm, Sweden. Eva has a MSc in oncology nursing with long experience of leadership at different levels within cancer care, 2012-2022 she held the position of nurse director for the Radiotherapy department at Karolinska CCC. She is active in different networks both nationally and internationally within the cancer field.  She is currently a board member of OECIs (Organisation of European cancer Institutes) accreditation and designation board. Eva is devoted to contributing to the development of cancer care and co-creation with patients, their families and involvement of citizens.


Dr. Edvard Abel
Centre Director, Sahlgrenska Comprehensive Cancer Center

Edvard Abel is a clinical oncologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, with a PhD in radiotherapy and around 20 years of experience working as a radiotherapist. He has been an active member of the national study group of Head and neck cancer in Sweden as well as one of the experts in a recent survey of the conditions of radiotherapy in Sweden. He was the Chief medical officer of radiotherapy in the Western region of Sweden between 2016-2022, before being appointed as the current Centre Director of Sahlgrenska Comprehensive Cancer Centre.


Dr. John P Christodouleas
Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Clinical Research at Elekta

Dr. Christodouleas is Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Clinical Research at Elekta, Inc. He is also an active radiation oncologist and an internationally recognized authority on the treatment of prostate and bladder cancer. Christodouleas has written extensively about ways to optimize cancer control and quality of life for patients with cancer and has published primary research, reviews and editorials in a variety of journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer and The International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics. He has authored over 20 book chapters on the care of cancer patients and is co-editor of one of the leading textbooks in radiation oncology, currently in its 3rd edition. Dr. Christodouleas serves as co-primary investigator for the MOMENTUM Study, an international observational cohort study of MR-guided radiation therapy.


Dr. May Abdel-Wahab
Director of the Division of Human Health (NAHU), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

May Abdel-Wahab, MD, PhD is the Director of the Division of Human Health (NAHU) at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria. She has over 30 years of patient care, teaching, and research experience in the field of radiation oncology, specializing in treatment of prostate and gastrointestinal cancers. Her main areas of general focus include healthcare access and training, as well as novel solutions to address disparity and diversity issues. She has served as a member and chair, on various National and International committees, including the United Nations Interagency Task Force Steering committee (UNIATF) on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which coordinates UN-wide activities in NCDs. She is a member of the UN Joint Programme on the Cervical Cancer Control Steering Committee, working at the global and national level with participating countries to support a national comprehensive cervical cancer control programme. She is co-lead author on the Lancet Oncology Commission report on Imaging and Nuclear Medicine, studying cost and access in oncology. She has served as chair of the ASTRO Committee for Healthcare Access & Training and Co-Chair of the Integration of Health Enterprise in Radiation Oncology (IHE-RO) Planning Committee, working on interconnectivity issues at various levels of patient care. Prior to joining IAEA, she was section head of GI Radiation Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic, USA, and Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine, Case Western University. Her research also focused on prostate and GI cancers as well as quality assurance and safety and access to radiotherapy. She is a fellow of both the American Board of Radiology (ACR) and the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and was featured on the Best Doctors in America listing, among other honors.


Prof. Richard Sullivan
Professor of Cancer and Global Health, King’s College London

Richard Sullivan FRCS PhD FFPM is Professor of Cancer and Global Health at King’s College London and Guy’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre. He is Director, Institute of Cancer Policy & Director, Centre for Conflict & Health Research at King’s. He is an NCD advisor to World Health Organisation, World Bank and various international organisations and governments. His global cancer research programs cover cancer systems strengthening, financing, political economy, global cancer surgery particularly virtual reality-enhanced surgical simulation, as well as studies into social welfare and cancer care in conflict. He also directs several major research programs in conflict and health with a special focus on the Middle East, including Health Security Intelligence, Global Health Security and health systems strengthening in conflict. Professor Sullivan trained in surgical oncology (urology) gaining his PhD in Biochemistry from University College London. He has published over 400 articles, including seventeen Lancet & Lancet Oncology Commissions. Richard was formally Clinical Director of Cancer Research UK and the trans-Atlantic Council for Emerging National Security Affairs.


Ms. Anne Starz
Head of Resource Mobilization, IAEA

Ms. Startz is the Extrabudgetary Resources Coordinator and Section Head for Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation in the Technical Cooperation Department of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Ms Starz has fifteen years of experience in the IAEA leading high performing teams and developing solutions to global challenges using nuclear science and technology. Prior to joining the IAEA, Ms Starz worked in the private sector and the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration on nuclear energy, nuclear security and nonproliferation. Ms Starz has extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy, nuclear policy, organizational performance and change management. Ms Starz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.


Ms. Birgit Fleurent
Co-Founder, Global Coalition for Radiotherapy (GCR)

Birgit is a global healthcare executive advisor and consultant and a recognized transformational, inspiring healthcare leader with over 35 years of experience across 6 continents. Her expertise includes global strategic, business and marketing leadership, management and execution in the medical device, life science and infectious disease diagnostic industries. She has a recognized ability to bridge private and public sectors so that clinical and scientific data are translated into healthcare provider, policy leader and consumer awareness, adoption and loyalty. Birgit is a member of the leadership team for the Global Coalition for Radiotherapy (GCR) and currently consults for several multinational and non-profit organization clients leading strategic and marketing transformation. As Chief Marketing Officer at Accuray for nearly 7 years, she was an instrumental member of the executive leadership team, with a global team of more than 60 professionals supporting a $400 million radiotherapy business. Prior to Accuray, Birgit worked internationally in both private and public sectors, from small organisations to large multinationals including Haemonetics, Genelabs Diagnostics, the WHO, UNITAID, and DuPont Medical Products. She drives success through motivating people, ensuring diversity, inclusion and employee wellbeing are valued. Birgit is a highly effective communicator fluent in English, German and French, with Swiss and US citizenship.


Dr. Mia Rajalin
Member of the Board, Vision Zero Cancer and Swedish Lung Cancer Association

Mia Rajalin is a lic psychologist, has a PhD in suicidology from University of Umeå, Sweden, and currently holds a position as Director of Studies in Stockholm County Council.

Diagnosed with adenocarcinoma in 2017 she is now advocating for patients with lung cancer.  Mia is a member of the board in The Swedish Lung Cancer Association and a project member of the Vision Zero Cancer Innovation milieu, financed by the Swedish Innovation Agency, Vinnova. She is dedicated to find a way to diagnose lung cancer in an early stage for a better prognosis and engaged in informing the public and GP´s about early symptoms and the aspect that the number of never-smokers with the disease is rising.  Outside the research field and work hours she is a dedicated hockey mom of two goalies.


Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer

Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer is a national collaborative project for the design and method development of precision medicine treatment studies – for a more equal and sustainable health and cancer care where every patient and resident is offered accurate and individually tailored prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up based on their unique conditions, such as genetic profile and specific biomarkers.

Cancer is one of our greatest global societal challenges. To meet this, we must create better conditions for research and innovation. Precision health is a very important part of the work to achieve better results for patients and has great potential to improve cancer care along the entire cancer spectrum. If implemented correctly, precision health enables the capacity to prevent, manage and treat cancer fairly and effectively.

Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer is an innovation hub for clinical studies that works to facilitate the introduction of more accurate prevention and treatment in cancer care. The initiators are Vision Zero Cancer, Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) and SciLifeLab.

With funding from Vinnova and the strategic innovation program Swelife, a joint venture by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas. The project is part of Vinnova’s program “Sustainable Precision Health” 2021-2026.

The overall objectives of the innovation environment are to contribute to:

  • Increased access to and participation in clinical studies
  • Increased precision in prevention and diagnostics
  • More effective medical treatments and techniques
  • Increased use of existing infrastructure
  • Increased internationalisation

Mission

Test Bed Sweden for Precision Health in Cancer will develop a model to stimulate the development of national precision medicine studies, including new study designs, processes and technologies as well as contribute to the development of new precision diagnostic tools and the development of a model for a national MTB portal (Molecular Tumor Board). The model development also includes support for data analysis and data sharing, health economic tools to validate cost-effectiveness and sustainability, payment models, training efforts and adaptation of guidelines and other knowledge support within cancer care for cohesive patient journeys.

To enable large-scale implementation of a national, sustainable, and equal implementation of precision health in cancer care, models and methods need to be tested in a real environment. The project parties therefore intend to develop the Innovation hub into a system demonstrator that enables the translational process and that promotes the use of existing structures such as clinical trial units. Treating clinics, national and international research consortia are offered the opportunity for innovation consulting for innovative design of precision medicine studies and to test, demonstrate and iterate the models, methods and tools that are developed within the innovation environment.

This collaboration enables the generation, evaluation and valuation of evidence for precision medicine prevention, diagnostics, treatment and follow-up. This creates the conditions to accelerate the transformation and modernization of cancer care in a sustainable and equal way, to the benefit of the individual patient and society at large.

The innovation hub is delimited from the implementation and results of individual clinical studies.

Work and collaboration within Nollvision cancer / Testbed Sweden

Testbed Sweden is based on Vision Zero Cancers established form of cross-sector partnerships, community of values ​​and culture for cooperation and mutual learning and which is based on trust, courage, and action. The environments are run in accordance with VINNOVA’s conditions in separate projects regarding budget, partner constellation, steering group and roadmap. There are natural synergies and leverage effects that are used between the environments and the partner constellations.

In accordance with VINNOVA’s prerequisites, the Innovation hub must work based on the approach that objectives and form of cooperation are driven based on the needs of the end user and to enable system innovation with the help of new working methods, solutions, innovation, research, experiments, activities, and policy changes. The innovation environments must work systematically with communication to spread the environment’s goals and vision, engage society at all levels and attract new relevant actors, including international visibility and connection to international actors and initiatives. Furthermore, the environments must work with continuous environmental monitoring to relate to, attract and include ongoing initiatives and work for women and men to have the same power to shape society and their own lives.

Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer works through a flexible and dynamic collaboration with Nollvision cancer where the parties contribute their respective perspectives, skills and capacities in activities and efforts.

The operational progress of the innovation environments towards set goals is ensured by an operational coordination office led by Ebba Hallersjö Hult at the research institute SIR at the Stockholm School of Economics together with a steering group in each environment and an active collaboration between the Parties and external actors. The steering groups consist of appointed people from each project party. It is a balanced group of women and men with complementary skills and experiences who represent various actors from healthcare, academia, the public sector, business and civil society. For the coordination of Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer, Vision Zero Cancers coordination office and the office of GMS cooperate.

Shortly we will launch Testbed Sweden Precision Health Cancer own webb!

There we will tell you more about our innovation portfolio, internationalisations, collaborations and mission oriented work!

Impact Innovation: Prevention 360

Prevention 360 is a prestudy by Vision Zero Cancer together with AI Sweden, Informationsdriven Vård, Prevention Barnfetma and Fokus Patient.

Challenges

The view of maintaining health in individuals and populations needs to evolve; from reactive and general to proactive, precise, and informed. A society that remains in good health by intervening in early tailored ways minimizes the need for resource-intensive health care, as well as freeing up resources of high-quality care for those who need it. 

About the project

Prevention 360 is a prestudy by Vision Zero Cancer together with AI Sweden, Informationsdriven Vård, Prevention Barnfetma and Fokus Patient.

Through a data-driven approach, both individuals and societal actors, municipalities and regions, can act in an informed and proactive manner with targeted interventions to promote health and counteract the deterioration of health, while in parallel giving the individual new ways to take responsibility for their health. This is important for improved health throughout society, both for the individual as well as for societal actors like regions and municipalities and to increase resource efficiency.

With a broad and highly relevant network of experienced and capable partners, and a vibrant scope from clinical needs, research, technology development and implementation in society, we will work mission-oriented and with mobilizing all sectors throughout society.

The national innovation networks together with a patient organization aim to develop the next Strategic Innovation Program.

Facts

Prevention 360 is a prestudy from February to October 2023. Project partners: AI Sweden, Nollvision Cancer, Informationsdriven Vård, Prevention Barnfetma and Fokus Patient. The call was funded by Vinnova, Formas and Energimyndigheten.

More about the project partners: AI Sweden, Informationsdriven Vård, Prevention Barnfetma och Fokus Patient.

Vision Zero Cancer are proud to be a part of Community 365

Yesterday Ebba Hallersjö Hult met Mike Morrissey, Chief Executive, European Cancer Organisation & President, European Society of Association Executives, at the EU Beating Cancer Plan and the EU Cancer Mission conference and continued our dialogue on how Vision Zero Cancer can contribute to the Focused Topic Network of the European Cancer Organisation.

Community 365 – European Cancer Organisation

Networks of the European Cancer Organisation. Community 365 provide ideas, guidance, practical support and resources for our work in convening stakeholders and building consensus in the European cancer community.

Policies of the European Cancer Organisation are agreed by our Board after consultation with our Member Societies and Patient Advisory Committee. Community 365 contributors do not have a decision-making role in our policy work. Read more about our policy approval pathway here.   Community 365 also has additional not-for-profit organisations as supporters of our Mission & VisionStrategy and Focused Topic Networks.