The Austrian Breast & Colorectal Cancer Study Group (ABCSG) is Austria’s biggest and best-established academic research organization that conducts internationally respected clinical trials to investigate breast and colon cancer. Our primary objectives are to standardise diagnosis, therapy and post-treatment of breast and colon cancer throughout Austria, and to provide patients with the latest and best possible treatments. More than 25,000 patients have participated in ABCSG trials since 1984.
One in every eight women in Western Europe develops breast cancer. Diagnoses of colon cancer are also on the increase – 5,000 Austrians develop this form of cancer each year. In many European countries, it is exceptionally difficult to motivate patients to take part in trials. In Austria, however, ABCSG has been able to create an environment where people are receptive to clinical trials. Now, one in every three pre-menopausal breast cancer patient in Austria takes part in ABCSG trials. In post-menopausal breast cancer patients, this figure rises to one in every two patients.
Cooperation is vital
Collaboration across multiple disciplines is integral to modern cancer treatment. At ABCSG, physicians work together across a wide range of disciplines. These include: Surgery, radiotherapy, medical oncology, radiology, gynaecology, histopathology, psychology and rehabilitation therapy. This hand-in-glove cooperation ensures that diagnostic and therapeutic issues are addressed and resolved through clinical trials of the very highest quality.
Transparency, ethics and independence
ABCSG is associated with 100 medical centres in Austria – encompassing a network of approximately 900 investigators and 250 study nurses. All investigators and study nurses undertake to participate in national quality checks. Clinical trials are conducted with maximum transparency, and are monitored by ethics commissions and the responsible authorities at every stage. The safety and welfare of participants in our trials is of greater importance than the interests of science.
Helping thousands of breast and colon cancer sufferers
A range of control mechanisms and consistent after-care improve the quality of life and life expectancy of participants in trials. This approach lowers the probability of a recurrence of breast or colon cancer. Today, thousands of patients rely on ABCSG.
The vast majority of clinical research is conducted through co-operation on both national and international levels. ABCSG recognised at an early stage that a wide field of research is absolutely essential – especially given that cancer treatment requires a combination of therapies, and relies on a multi-disciplinary approach. A small country such as Austria would not be able to conduct clinical trials on a sufficient scale. This is why ABCSG participates in or directs numerous international clinical research projects.
What the future holds
ABCSG’s area of study initially concentrated on breast cancer, before focussing on colorectal cancer. The organisation is now beginning to investigate other forms of cancer. By this time, ABCSG is also conducting studies on liver metastases and pancreatic cancer. The medical need for such research is very high. Pancreatic cancer may only be the eleventh most common form of cancer, but it is the fourth most common cause of tumour-related fatalities.