The EU is integrating cancer imaging data from across Europe to speed up validation of AI solutions.

EU initiative will facilitate cross-border aggregation of imaging data to stoke AI innovation

January 27, 2023
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
The European Union is aggregating cancer imaging data into a cross-border, interoperable infrastructure, allowing clinicians and researchers to validate AI solutions for diagnosing and treating cancer and improving personalized care.

The European Cancer Imaging Initiative is meant to make the large data set easily accessible, allowing doctors to make “more precise and faster clinical decisions, diagnostics, treatments and predictive medicine,” said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides during the project launch on January 23.

The initiative is a flagship action under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, and aligns with efforts within the EU to extend routine screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer to 90% of eligible Europeans.

Manufacturers like Siemens Healthineers and Philips expressed their excitement to Reuters, saying that being able to access larger amounts of data would speed up innovations for new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.

"We strongly support the ambition to accelerate the development of algorithms by creating larger data lakes of critical medical images," said Siemens.

The project includes measures to safeguard patient privacy in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation. This includes supporting data altruism, in which citizens give their consent or permission voluntarily for their data to be made available as part of the data sets.

The project will be coordinated in conjunction with the EUropean Federation for CAncer IMages (EUCAIM), which aims to facilitate innovation and deployment of digital technologies in cancer treatment and care; and the AI Testing and Experimentation Facility for Health, which will manage the integration of state-of-the-art AI and robotics technologies in the healthcare domain.

The design for the pan-European digital infrastructure and federated platform is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. The first version will be released by the end of 2024, followed by the final one at the end of 2025. It is expected to be fully operational in 2026.