EU initiative aims to link up cancer imaging across the continent

24 Jan 2023

Image: © Image Supply Co/

The European Cancer Imaging Initiative aims to bring various datasets together, to make it easier for hospitals and researchers to access high-quality data.

A new EU initiative has launched to link up resources and databases related to cancer, in a bid to make it more accessible for researchers and innovators.

The European Cancer Imaging Initiative aims to create easily accessible digital infrastructure that is accessible across the EU, to connect hospitals and researchers with images and other relevant data.

The main goal is to give researchers easier access to high-quality data on various types of cancer, which is currently scattered across research and clinical centres in Europe. This data resource will then be used to boost cancer research and create new forms of care for cancer patients.

The European Commission has launched the initiative as a flagship project under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, which aims to make new approaches in cancer prevention, treatment and care.

The planned cross-border infrastructure will seek to speed up medical research through new technologies, such as training new AI models on large datasets to boost cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The project is being supported through an €18m investment from the Digital Europe Programme. The current timeline of the project expects the design of the pan-European digital infrastructure to be completed by the end of 2023.

The first version of the platform will be made available by the end of 2024, while the final release is expected by the end of 2025. The project aims to have its digital infrastructure fully operational in 2026.

The cancer imaging data will be made available to a Testing and Experimentation Facility, which was set up by the Digital Europe Programme. This will allow SMEs who have developed AI products for cancer care to test them in real-life environments.

Commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton said digital technologies and AI are “key in our battle against cancer”.

“The driver behind these technologies is high-quality data,” Breton said. “With the European Cancer Imaging Initiative, we will unlock a wealth of data and transform it into innovative cancer care solutions.

“SMEs and start-ups will play an important role. Our new Testing and Experimentation Facility for AI in healthcare will help them test their data-driven innovations in real-life conditions.”

Last December, it was revealed that Irish researchers are helping to create a digital marketplace for efficient and secure data trading within the EU.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic