The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has launched a new database that will help with the identification and prioritisation of future cancer research projects across Europe.

The Database of Cancer Uncertainties (DoCU) is funded by the European Commission and has been developed through the Coordination of Cancer Clinical Practice Guidelines in Europe (CoCanCPG), a consortium of 16 institutional partners from 11 countries.

The database is designed to overcome common uncertainties in the evidence base used in guideline developments, and link to initiatives such as the UK’s Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETs).

According to NICE, it is rare that all aspects of the management of a condition are supported by high-quality research and in some circumstances, when the research has been done it may be methodologically flawed or inconclusive.

NICE chairman Sir Michael Rawlins said that this database would help research agencies to concentrate their efforts on those areas of cancer which are in desperate need of further investigation.

“This represents an important pan-European information resource that will help to inform and prioritise research into cancer and how it can be best treated for years to come,” he said.

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Identified uncertainties will be prioritised with input from clinicians, patients, funders and researchers with tracking mechanisms in place to avoid duplication of effort and highlight relevant clinical trials that patients can participate in.