In general, Euregional hospitals want to collaborate in the field of health (patient care and research). All parties realize that there is a "communication challenge" which needs to be resolved. The main issues that cause this communication challenge range from the simple question of different languages to the more complex IT and data exchange systems to the compatibility of legal systems. These issues present the key question "What should we do to ensure that the diversity of the Euregion becomes an advantage and not a disadvantage? " This project proposes an answer to this question: we want to set up a world class solution to build and transform the Euregion as an incubator for Clinical Research and development in health care, more specifically cancer research. In the near future other disease such as cardiovascular diseases could be integrated.
In particular we want to focus on Radiation Oncology because:
- IT is relatively advanced within this field
- The partners know each other and are already collaborating
However, the two main reasons are as follows:
- This will be ideal ground preparation for the establishment of the Euregional Particle Therapy Centre on the Avantis European Science and Business Park, an initiative for which the business plan has been approved.
- There is already a successful project running in Maastricht (in collaboration with Siemens). The main objective is to transform the successful unicentric Maastricht project into a Multicentric Euregional project.
Although this project will facilitate the Euregional Particle Therapy Project, the two projects are mutually supporting but not dependent on each other. Moreover, the projects will work in synergy with one another.
Successful cancer treatment requires an individual approach, in which diagnostic and treatment modalities are chosen according to the characteristics of an individual patient, his or her tumor and specific areas within the tumor. This individualized care does not sit well with the current, extremely costly method from basic research to clinical trial which tries to identify if a novel modality is of benefit to a certain population of patients. It is therefore the objective of this project to develop a new, unique in the world, Euregional IT platform for clinical cancer research in which the properties of an individual patient and his or her tumor are more explicitly taken into account in the development and clinical trials of new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. To reach this overall objective, four objectives will be completed during this project
Objective 1 - Data extraction system
Develop and validate a data extraction system that can extract locally available medical data from all cancer patients from multiple centres. Effective and efficient IT tools will be developed to extract, browse and query all the relevant data from heterogeneous databases.
Objective 2 - Clinical trial infrastructure
Develop and validate a clinical trial infrastructure that attracts medical companies to perform clinical research and development. A multi-centric infrastructure will be built in which access to the data and predictive models will be provided through a unified interface in a privacy-preserving manner.
Objective 3 - Predictive models in lung cancer
Use the data extraction system to develop and validate machine learning based predictive models for lung cancer using data using data from multiple institutions.
Objective 4 : Simulation of new treatments via in-silico trials
Simulate new treatments and identify useful selection criteria for a clinical trial and/or cost-effectiveness. An example of such an "in-silico trial" is a planning study, which compares various radiotherapy modalities (protons, carbon ions, photons 3D, photons IMRT, tomotherapy) in terms of cost-efficiency.