23 Jan 2023
EC launches European Cancer Imaging Initiative
On 23 January 2023, the European Commission (EC) launched the European Cancer Imaging Initiative to support healthcare providers, research institutes and innovators in making the best use of innovative data-driven solutions for cancer treatment and care. The initiative is a flagship action under Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, and will work towards creating a digital infrastructure linking up resources and databases of cancer imaging data across the EU, while ensuring adherence to high ethics standards, trust, security and protection of personal data. It will also connect EU-level and national initiatives, hospital networks, as well as research repositories with imaging data and other relevant health data.
The EC points out that the new European Cancer Imaging Initiative will provide researchers with efficient access to more high-quality data to study and advance our understanding of the disease. Innovators will be able to develop and test data-driven solutions for cancer care. The facilitation of the development of data-driven solutions will allow doctors to make more precise and faster clinical decisions, diagnostics, treatments and predictive medicine, for the benefit of cancer patients. Furthermore, the Initiative is intended to support data altruism from citizens, who could give their consent or permission voluntarily to make available data that they generate, as a way of enriching the health datasets.
Major European research organisations, institutions, and companies will work together to design the infrastructure that will:
- Give European clinicians, researchers and innovators easy access to large amounts of cancer imaging data;
- Support the testing and development of tools for personalised medicine to advance cancer diagnostics and treatments;
- Support the creation of new, and the interoperability of existing, cancer image datasets, in line with the European Strategy for Data.
Following today's launch of the European Cancer Imaging Initiative with two projects, the EUCAIM project (supported by the Digital Europe programme with € 18 million) and the AI Testing and Experimentation Facility for Health (TEF-Health, a cluster of five projects supported by Horizon 2020), the EC expects that by December 2023 the design of the pan-European digital infrastructure will have been completed and the collaboration mechanisms will have been established. Data providers will then be able to connect with this new European federated platform. The first version of the platform will be released by the end of 2024 and the final release is expected by the end of 2025. The digital infrastructure will be fully operational and running in 2026.
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