The IARC Headquarters in Lyon
The IARC Headquarters in Lyon
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IARC

IARC is the acronym of the English words International Agency for Research on Cancer. The IARC is an independent part of the United Nations World Health Organization and its base is in the beautiful city of Lyon, France. 

By the way, in French the name of this U.N. research center is Centre International de Recherche sur le Cancer, and its acronym is CIRC.

Contents

IARC

The Logo of IARC
The Logo of IARC

Brief History of the Establishment

Strange as it may seem at first glance, the founding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer is linked to both the Cold War and the Peace Movements of the 1960s, through two figures, the French Yves Poggioli and Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vignerie.

Background

In February 1963, Yves Poggioli, a journalist and activist of the Peace Movement, having recently had the painful experience of his wife’s death from cancer, sent a letter to his friend Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vignerie – also a member of the Peace Movement, former Minister of the Interior, after the Liberation, of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, and publisher of the newspaper Libération (name to be borrowed later, in 1973, Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge July, for their then newly published newspaper) – in which he narrates her whole torturous adventure to the sad end, and his ensuing mourning.

D’Astier, in addition to the manifestation of his human emotions, is concerned. And this concern finds a fruitful way out as he and Poggioli embark on a struggle to create an international organization that will promote cancer research, with the groundbreaking idea of funding it with 0.5% of the funds related to the cost of developing nuclear weapons for each nuclear power.

Fruition

A milestone in this struggle was the famous open letter of November 7, 1963 to the President of France, Charles de Gaulle, with its simultaneous notification to the embassies of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States. The letter bore the signatures of d’Astier and 12 other important personalities of the French scientific and social scene.

De Gaulle’s acceptance of the opinions in it, resulted in the establishment of the IARC / CIRC on 20 May 1965, when the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution establishing it in accordance with Article 18(k) of the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO).

In practice, the IARC / CIRC became function on 15 September 1965, with the initial participation of the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.

IARC

Monographs Volume 113
IARC's Monograph Volume 113 Cover

IARC, Objective of Establishment & Features

The International Agency for Research on Cancer established with a view to promote international co-ordination and interdisciplinary collaboration on research to identify the causes of cancer.

Combining biostatistics, laboratory sciences and epidemiology suggests that preventive measures be taken to reduce the extent and weight of diseases, as well as the resulting pain caused by various types of cancer.

Its expertise in coordinating research among countries and organizations, as well as organizing and conducting research in low- and middle-income countries through partnerships and collaborations with researchers in these regions, are its specific features.

The IARC, however, is not directly involved in the implementation of control measures nor conducts research on the treatment or care of cancer patients.

IARC

The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Categories of Carcinogenicity Agents

The IARC carries out research into carcinogens, which may be substances, mixtures or exposures to environments. The results of the investigations lead to the classification of carcinogenic agents in five categories:

Category 1: Carcinogenic to humans.

This category includes all the agents that lead to the conclusion that they can cause cancer in humans.

Category 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans.

This category includes all agents for which there are strong indications that they can cause cancer in humans but are not conclusive for the time being.

Category 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans.

This category includes all agents for which there are some indications that they can cause cancer in humans, but are currently insufficient to be considered as critical.

Category 3: Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.

This category includes all agents for which there are currently no indications that they can cause cancer in humans.

Category 4: Probably not carcinogenic to humans.

This category includes all agents for which there are strong indications that they do not cause cancer in humans.

IARC

Soybean Spraying Tractor
An Idyllic Scene From Rural Life with a Soybean Spraying Tractor

According to IARC Carcinogenic Agents & Pesticides

Since 1971, more than 1000 agents have been evaluated in the IARC, more than 400 of which have been identified as carcinogens, probably carcinogenic, or possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Category 1 includes 120 agents, some of which are active substances used in pesticides.

Category 2A includes 82 agents, some of which are also active substances used in pesticides.

Category 2B includes 299 agents, some of which are again active substances used in pesticides.

Category 3 includes 502 agents, some of which are fortunately active substances used in pesticides.

Category 4 includes only one (1) agent, caprolactam, which unfortunately is not an active substance used in pesticides but is the precursor compound for synthetic nylon-6 polymer (polycaprolactam), with the scope of synthetic fibers and plastics.

IARC

References

The References of the highly horrifying article on the IARC entry are show out by the great one rebetiko artist Γιάννης Παπαϊωάννου (Giannis Papaioannou), with the basically optimistic song Πέντε Έλληνες στον Άδη (Five Greeks in Hades) – with lyrics by Κώστα Μάνεση (Costas Manesis), which although written in specific circumstances, surpasses them and becomes a classic reference to a proud and joyful attitude against the (always victorious) King of the Underworld.

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