Large-scale research into cancer treatment accelerated thanks to European Interreg grant
Thu, 16 Jun 2011 12:00:00 +0100
Nine organisations (see below) are collaborating on the ambitious EuroCAT project in the Meuse-Rhine region (the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) to develop a shared database of medical characteristics in cancer patients, tumours and treatments. Copying data from existing databases and linking them together on a larger scale will greatly improve our ability to learn and predict the outcome of individual treatments within the next three years. In other words: we will be able to dramatically improve the quality of treatment each individual cancer patient receives by skilfully mining the available data and treatment results of many patients.
This can be achieved through extensive, cross-border cooperation among the parties involved (see below), in addition to a sizeable European Interreg grant from Interreg IV-a.
MAASTRO CLINIC, the Maastricht radiotherapeutic institute, is the leading partner and initiator of this cross-border platform. Professor and director of the MAASTRO CLINIC, Dr Phillippe Lambin, is excited about the breakthrough. "Realising this database has been a long-cherished dream," he says. "This project will be revolutionary in terms of cancer research and treatment. Nowhere else in the world will there be this much specific information available in one place."
Another big advantage is that the project facilitates Euroregional cooperation among all parties involved. The infrastructure for this project can also serve as the foundation for trials within other disciplines and may be used to further develop particle therapy (radiotherapy using protons; a promising and relatively new form of radiation). The IT infrastructure, which stores vast amounts of data, is also greatly appealing to medical companies - like pharmaceutical companies, for instance - that develop new cancer medications. The project will act as a catalyst for clinical trials and the development of new medications as research results can be quickly and efficiently collected and validated on a large scale.
All personal information entered into the EuroCAT database is safeguarded and kept anonymous as far as possible. The system also takes into account the privacy laws of three different countries. Information will never be used from patients who have raised objections.
Funding and subsidies
The European Fund for Regional Development (EFRO) and regional government agencies will jointly contribute €2,500,000 for the three-year project. The partners will contribute over €740,000.
EuroCAT stands for Euregional Computer Assisted Theragnostics network. The collaborating project partners of the Interreg IV-a 'EuroCAT' project proposal are: