EOSC4Cancer: creating a European digital infrastructure to accelerate cancer research

26 October 2023
BSC presented the EOSC4Cancer roadmap at the first General Assembly of the project, which aims to implement a sustainable infrastructure for hosting and analysing cancer-related data across Europe

EOSC4Cancer, a European project coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), held its first General Assembly Meeting on September 28 and 29 in Barcelona, Spain. EOSC4Cancer is a European-wide project aiming to set the foundations for accelerating data-driven cancer research in the context of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and the EU Mission on Cancer. 

The event brought together more than 80 participants from over 13 countries with the aim of discussing the main actions carried out during the first year of the project and for strategizing a concrete action plan for the next six-months.

According to Alfonso Valencia, BSC Life Sciences Department director and EOSC4Cancer coordinator, “the General Assembly Meeting provided the perfect personal and professional environment to prepare the immediate plans for the first release of the EOSC4Cancer proposal for the future federated digital infrastructure of the European Mission on Cancer in collaboration with the 4.unCAN.eu, a coordination and support action project.”

During the first day, four satellite sessions were scheduled to advance the discussion of the project activities such as the upcoming Roadmap Consultation, the Cancer Project Landscape Mapping efforts and the technological demonstrators associated with the different use-cases. The main session during the first day included a series of presentations that gave a detailed overview of the implemented tasks and activities during the first part of the project. 

Fruitful Breakout Sessions were organized following the EOSC4Cancer squads. Squads offer the opportunity for the different project use-cases to meet up with the representatives from the technical Work Packages. The following actions were proposed for the upcoming period: 

  • Have a FAIR metadata-based catalog, provided by the data of the different use cases; 
  • Create codebooks and guidelines to harmonise the data between countries, specially for screening programs and cancer registries; 
  • Drive further technical developments with Galaxy and cBioPortal, such as create a dataflow from EGA to cBioPortal through Galaxy or include images in cBioPortal.

The second day brought very interesting discussions. On one hand, the BSC presented the initial elements for the EOSC4Cancer Roadmap. The project started with the goal to build a blueprint that will influence how cancer-related data can be used to advance Cancer Research in Europe. Such elements are nowadays part of a broader discussion with key stakeholders for setting up the foundations for the federated digital infrastructure supporing the EU Mission on Cancer. The initial proposal, made in the frame of the EOSC4Cancer project, proposes the different elements to implement a sustainable infrastructure to host and analyze cancer-related data across Europe in connection with existing projects, Research Infrastructures and other national efforts.  

Afterwards, a Roundtable session with representatives of aligned EU projects (EUCAIM, GDI, EHDS, HealthData@EU, canSERV, UNCAN.eu) opened a vivid conversation on the future of cancer data across European borders.

The event concluded on the second day with a feedback session from the Scientific and Ethic Advisory Board members that gave a detailed overview on the project and the challenges to address in order to unleash the outstanding potential of this multidisciplinary consortium to open the path for creating a European digital infrastructure to accelerate cancer research.