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What is the European Cancer Imaging Initiative?

The recently launched European Cancer Imaging Initiative aims to revolutionize cancer imaging through data and digital technologies

On 23 January 2023, the European Commission launched the European Cancer Imaging Initiative as a flagship action under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. The objective of this initiative is to leverage data and digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or High-Performance Computing (HPC) to combat cancer. Innovation and deployment of digital technologies in cancer treatment and care will enable more precise and faster decision-making, diagnostics, treatments, and predictive medicines for cancer patients.

Cancer imaging is a test that helps diagnose cancer, determine its stage, and evaluate treatment effectiveness. For different types of cancer there are a variety of cancer imaging datasets. However, these datasets are now scattered among repositories and clinics in Europe which makes them not easily accessible to clinicians, researchers, and innovators for benchmarking and testing. This new initiative aims to create an open dataset that links all the existing resources and databases across Europe, working towards a more open, available, and user-friendly infrastructure of cancer imaging.

The initiative will bring together all national initiatives, networks, or other relevant projects related to cancer imaging, while ensuring high ethics standards, trust, security, and protection of personal data. For example, it will be possible to use Artificial Intelligence on a large dataset which is standardised and fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The infrastructure is expected to be completed by December 2023, following which data providers will be able to connect with the platform. It will be released by the end of 2024, with the final release expected by the end of 2025. By 2026, the infrastructure should be fully operational.

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