Europe launches radiology AI initiative for cancer imaging

By Erik L. Ridley, AuntMinnieEurope staff writer

January 25, 2023 -- The European Commission (EC) has officially launched the European Federation for Cancer Images (EUCAIM), a four-year infrastructure development initiative that aims to enhance the use of imaging and artificial intelligence (AI) technology for precision medicine in cancer patients and citizens of the European Union (EU).

A cornerstone of the EC's European Cancer Imaging Initiative launched under Europe's Beating Cancer Plan (EBCP), EUCAIM will establish a distributed Atlas of Cancer Imaging with over 60 million anonymized cancer image data from over 100,000 patients. This atlas will be made available to clinicians, researchers, and developers across the EU to facilitate the creation and benchmarking of AI applications. The federated learning infrastructure enables AI algorithms to be trained at each of the data warehouses in order to ensure data privacy, according to the EUCAIM consortium.

In addition, the EUCAIM infrastructure will also be populated by observational studies from 21 clinical sites in 12 EU countries, including images and associated pathology, molecular, and laboratory data. What's more, the consortium expects that the infrastructure will be expanded to at least 30 distributed data providers from 15 countries by the end of the project.

Prof. Luis Martí-Bonmatí (left), chair of radiology at La Fe University and Polytechnic Hospital in Valencia, Spain, is joined by Chair of the ESR Board of Directors Prof. Regina Beets-Tan and Marco Marsella, head of the eHealth, Well-being and Ageing Unit at DG Connect.

EUCAIM will be scientifically led by Prof. Luis Martí-Bonmatí, director of medical imaging and chairman of the radiology department at La Fe University and Polytechnic Hospital in Valencia, Spain. It will also be coordinated by the European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research (EIBIR), and established by and headquartered at the European Society of Radiology in Vienna.

The EUCAIM consortium includes 76 partners from 14 EU member states, covering areas such as cancer imaging and care, big data in medical imaging, data management, ethical and legal aspects of medical data, development and deployment of research infrastructures, and AI and machine learning, as well as dissemination, communication, and stakeholder outreach in biomedical imaging, according to the consortium.

The organizers also noted that EUCAIM builds upon the results of the AI for Health Imaging Network (AI4HI), which includes five EU-funded products utilizing big data and AI in cancer imaging: Chaimeleon, EuCanImage, ProCancer-I, Incisive, and Primage.

The EUCAIM consortium will partner with the AI Testing and Experimentation Facility for Health under the Digital Europe Programme. enabling small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) to access its infrastructure. The rollout will also be supported by the European Digital Innovation Hubs, according to the consortium.

An open-call procedure will be used during the course of the project to invite clinical data providers to join the initiative. More information can be found on the EC's website.

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