BSC participates in major new European project to fight childhood cancer

13 February 2019
iPC will focus on identifying effective personalised medicine methodologies for paediatric cancers, addressing a multitude of challenges using computational resources .

(individualizedPaediatricCure) is a major new European Union-funded project, with a total budget of €15 million, to contribute to the fight against childhood cancer. iPC harnesses the expertise of 21 partners from eleven different countries. Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) will play a significant role in this project, which aims to give researchers and clinicians the tools and supporting evidence to create individualized treatment plans for children with cancer.

Clinically prescribed treatment options for cancer in children are not always as efficient as they could be. In fact, on average, only a quarter of oncological patients respond to the drug therapy they receive. Evidence shows that a personalised treatment plan, based on patients’ clinical, molecular and phenotypic data, can significantly enhance outcomes.

iPC will focus on identifying effective personalised medicine methodologies for paediatric cancers, addressing a multitude of challenges using computational resources that combine knowledge-based, machine learning and mechanistic models to predict optimal therapies for each child. IBM Research Zürich leads the technical aspects while Technikon coordinates the whole project. The project will address the critical need for personalised medicine for children with cancer.

BSC’s contribution to the project will include implementing a secure platform for data and metadata storage as well as an interactive web-based portal where users will access data, metadata, software, and predictive models. BSC leverages previous efforts in national and European projects while bringing in the know how acquired in ELIXIR, the leading infrastructure for life sciences in Europe, as the ELIXIR Spain Coordination Node.

‘Our technical capabilities, and the collaboration with the Spanish and European Bioinformatics Infrastructures, will allow us to handle and analyse large volumes of confidential information. These include powerful data- and text-mining tools that will build the foundation for developments within iPC,’ said Salvador Capella, a team leader in the BSC Life Sciences Department and coordinator of the Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB, according to its initials in Spanish) Coordination Node.

Beyond the data infrastructure BSC will collaborate with the iPC partners in the development of models for the interpretation of the data, in particular those based on the BSC technology for the analysis of complex molecular systems.

‘In this project, we will combine high-performance computing resources with cloud-based solutions to build computational models which will pave the way to future personalised medicine environments supporting the treatment of cancer,’ said Alfonso Valencia, ICREA professor and director of the BSC Life Sciences department.

Further information: Official press-release by Technikon (iPC Coordinator)

About iPC

The iPC (individualizedPaediatricCure) project is funded by the European Commission with a budget of €15 million and will last for four years, starting on January 1st, 2019. The project brings together 21 partners from eleven different countries, including the United States and Australia.

The full list of project partners is as follows: Technikon (Austria), IBM Research (Switzerland), Baylor College of Medicine (United States), Institut Curie (France), Technische Universität Darmstadt (Germany), Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II (Italy), Universiteit Gent (Belgium), Barcelona Supercomputing Center (Spain), XLAB (Slovenia), Prinses Máxima Centrum (Netherlands), Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften (Germany), Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg (Germany), Institut de Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol (Spain), Alacris Theranostics (Germany), Universität Zürich (Switzerland), Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum Heidelberg (Germany), Ludwig-Maximiliansuniversität München (Germany), the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (United States), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy) and the Children’s Medical Research Institute (Australia).