EOSC4Cancer, coordinated by BSC, teams up with UNCAN to align EU cancer projects

08 February 2023

This collaboration brought to Barcelona key European cancer data experts to improve the exploitation of cancer data for research and to define the components of the future European Cancer Research Data Hub.

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) Life Sciences Department organized last 17 January 2023 an important strategic meeting to join efforts between the Horizon Europe project of EOSC4Cancer, coordinated by the BSC, with the European Initiative to UNderstand CANcer (UNCAN.eu), in which representatives of other key European projects (CAN.HEAL, EUCANCan, canSERV, B1MG, GDI, and AACR GENIE) on cancer data also joined.

During this meeting, it was discussed how the infrastructure to be developed by EOSC4Cancer could serve as reference to UNCAN (a Coordination and Support Action that will inform the EU cancer mission). Several working sessions were dedicated to gain a clear understanding on the primary organization of cancer data flows (including federated systems, workflows and software containers for cancer data analysis, accessibility and characteristics of different data types: genomic, registries, images, etc.) analysing the potential synergies between both projects with particular emphasis on the services for the federated management and analysis of cancer data.

Additional efforts were dedicated to map the European cancer projects dealing with data with the aim of facilitating the work of the EU Cancer Mission in the organization of cancer data in Europe. During the workshop a first version of a catalogue identifying project's goals, accessible data (genomic, images, registries, etc.) and analysis methods was created. The completion of this effort will require the collaboration of the cancer research community towards the common goal of increasing the visibility, accessibility and usability of the data researchers and clinicians need on their daily work

Furthermore, the meeting contributed to the definition of the components of the European Cancer Research Data Hub to be constructed by UNCAN. The workshop participants defined the key points for the implementation of the Data Hub, including data archive, data discovery systems, data harmonization, secure data processing environments, workflow management, software analytics, governance, sustainability, among others, and identified their main bottlenecks and challenges.

Overall, the collaboration between EOSC4Cancer and UNCAN has brought to the BSC key European cancer data experts to align EU cancer projects to improve the organization and exploitation of cancer data for research with the ultimate goal of benefiting cancer patients.

EOSC4Cancer, a consortium of 29 scientific institutions from 13 countries led by BSC

The BSC is coordinating the EOSC4Cancer project, a European digital ecosystem of shared data to accelerate cancer research. The initiative, funded with nearly 8 million euros by the European Union (EU), will enable federated and secure access to various types of cancer data across European borders, in order to process and reuse information from cancer research across the EU.

EOSC4Cancer is coordinated by the BSC and ELIXIR, a European intergovernmental body that brings together life science resources across the EU to form a single, shared infrastructure. The project, a key part of Horizon Europe's European Mission on Cancer, brings together a consortium of 29 organisations from 13 countries coordinated by the BSC, including cancer research centres, scientific infrastructures, leading research groups, hospitals and supercomputing centres.

The aim of EOSC4Cancer is to facilitate the interoperability of genomic, imaging, medical, clinical, environmental and socio-economic data across countries through appropriate analysis environments, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. The better organised cancer data is across Europe, the better and faster we can reap the benefits of new technical and biological innovations for the benefit of EU citizens and patients.