The knowledge of the nuclear matrix elements (NME) entering in the expression of the half-life of the neutrinoless double beta decay is fundamental for neutrino physics. Information on the nuclear matrix elements can be obtained by measuring the absolute cross section of double charge exchange nuclear reactions. The two processes present some similarities, the initial and final-state wave functions are the same and the transition operators are similar. The experimental measurements of double charge exchange reactions induced by heavy ions present a number of challenging aspects, since such reactions are characterized by very low cross sections. Such difficulties are discussed for the measurement of the Cd-116(Ne-20,O-20)Sn-116 reaction at 15 AMeV.