Daffodil Day is an annual campaign that raises life-saving funds for world-class cancer research. It helps highlight the immense pain and economic cost that cancer continues to impose on society and it raises awareness of the services available to help prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
The direct health cost of cancer in the EU was €103 billion in 2019 with €32 billion of this being spent on cancer drugs. The advances made in cancer drug discovery have led to a 60% increase in cancer survival times since 1975 so that today, close to 5% of the population in the western world is living with cancer. Similar improvements in drug discovery for cardiovascular and other high-mortality diseases have resulted in increased life expectancy and a greater propensity for people to contract cancer before they die. As a result, cancer has become the number one cause of death within the EU, accounting for 26% of all deaths. Ironically, the advances in drug discovery have resulted in increased cancer-related deaths and higher cumulative cancer treatment costs.
The situation in Ireland is no different to that in Europe. According to the Marie Keating Foundation, over 50% of our population can now expect to develop cancer during their lifetime, with approximately 45,000 new cases being diagnosed every year and direct cancer healthcare costs now exceeding €1.2 billion annually.
The challenge for cancer researchers is to understand and prevent cancer causation before the costs associated with cancer patient care increase to unmanageable levels. The technological challenge is to develop tools that give scientists a better means of understanding disease causation (e.g. why do DNA mutations in certain genes cause cancers in some organs but not in others) so that disease can be prevented, allowing people to live not only longer but also healthier and more fulfilling lives.
A cell’s shape and the shape of its internal organelle, are seen as important influencers on the gene mutation that causes cancer. For this reason, 3D imaging of the whole internal structure of intact cells is playing an increasingly important role in helping scientists to understand cancer. The only technology available today that can image through a whole cell, without needing to slice it or stain it, is soft x-ray microscopy (SXM).
SiriusXT is proud to be developing the first commercial lab-scale SXM, which will make this extremely valuable cancer research tool available to a target market of over 2,000 global disease research organisations.