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Digibyte | Publication

Cancer Image Europe platform: the first prototype of the pan-European digital infrastructure goes live

Today, the European Cancer Imaging Initiative has reached a first major milestone of its roadmap towards delivering a European federated infrastructure of cancer images data to support healthcare providers, research institutes and innovators in making the best use of innovative data-driven solutions for cancer treatment and care.

logo of the European Cancer Imaging Initiative

This flagship initiative launched in December 2022  is part of  the Europe's Beating Cancer Plan and aims to foster innovation and deployment of digital technologies in cancer research, treatment and care, to achieve more precise and faster clinical decision-making, diagnostics, treatments and predictive medicine for the benefit of cancer patients.

The first version of this digital infrastructure, delivered by the EUropean Federation for CAncer IMages (EUCAIM) project, features a public catalogue of cancer imaging datasets from the repositories EU-funded projects related to of Artificial Intelligence for Health Imaging, as well as a searching tool to understand the information available at the data providers’ sites across EU. Today, the Cancer Image Europe platform links up 36 datasets of images of 9 cancer types (breast, colon, lung, prostate, rectum, liver, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, neuroblastoma, glioblastoma), for a total of over 200 000 image series of about 20 000 individuals. A first version of the rules for data providers and users and the operational procedures have been also published; access to data can be requested to data providers in line with applicable ethics and data protection rules.

Today’s achievement is a major step towards building the Atlas of Cancer Imaging with over 60 million anonymised cancer image data from over 100,000 patients. 

Technological innovation that is combined with data protection can create a trusted framework for researchers, innovators, doctors, and patients. Thanks to the new European Cancer Imaging Initiative, researchers will have efficient access to more high-quality data to study and advance our understanding of the disease. Innovators will be able to develop and test data-driven solutions for cancer care. The facilitation of the development of data-driven solutions will allow doctors to make more precise and faster clinical decisions, diagnostics, treatments and predictive medicine, for the benefit of cancer patients. Furthermore, the initiative will support data altruism from citizens, who could give their consent or permission voluntarily to make available data that they generate, as a way of enriching the health datasets.

A cross-border, interoperable, and secure infrastructure that will preserve privacy is essential to speed up innovation in medical research. Therefore, several EU Member States have expressed interest in establishing an European Digital Infrastructure Consortium (EDIC) for the Cancer Image Europe platform developed by the EUCAIM project. A working group has been launched by the European Commission to further explore this idea.

Advancing health research and care with digital tech

In line with the European Strategy for Data and the European Health Data Space, the European Cancer Imaging Initiative is one of the flagships of Europe's Beating Cancer Plan (EBCP). It will bring together digital technology innovation and European data protection to create a trusted and secure framework to give researchers, innovators and doctors access to valuable data.

Major European research organisations, institutions, and companies will work together to design the infrastructure that will: 

·   Give European clinicians, researchers and innovators easy access to large amounts of cancer imaging data;

·   Support the testing and development of tools for personalised medicine to advance cancer diagnostics and treatments;

·   Support the creation of new, and the interoperability of existing, cancer image datasets, in line with the European Strategy for Data. 

European Cancer Imaging Initiative and Cancer Screening

Following the publication of the revised Council Recommendation on Cancer Screening in December 2022, the European Cancer Imaging Initiative will have a dedicated focus on optimizing breast and lung cancer screening programmes. The initiative is particularly relevant to the breast and lung cancer screening, as images are pivotal in these tumor detection actions. Prostate cancer screening programmes are also being developed using MRI images.Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve the accuracy and efficiency of lung and breast cancer screening, enabling earlier detection and better patient outcomes. Thanks to the Cancer Image Europe platform, researchers and clinicians involved in the screening actions and programmes will be able to jointly explore innovative approaches to lung and breast cancer screening and care.

Next steps

The EUCAIM project will continue to extend the functionalities of the Cancer Image Europe platform. it is expected that by December 2023 the design of the pan-European digital infrastructure will have been completed and the collaboration mechanisms will have been established. Data providers will then be able to connect with this new European federated platform. The first version of the platform will be released by the end of 2024 and the final release is expected by the end of 2025. The digital infrastructure will be fully operational and running in 2026.


The EUCAIM project that is under the European Cancer Imaging Initiative is supported by the Digital Europe Programme (DIGITAL) with €18 million. It is a large-scale project that will deploy the federated European infrastructure of cancer imaging data based on the work accomplished under the AI for Health Imaging Network”, which is a cluster of 5 projects supported by the Horizon 2020 research programme. The infrastructure aims to include more than 100,000 cancer cases by 2025, and at least 60 million annotated cancer images in a distributed Atlas of cancer images. The project is starting with 21 clinical sites from 12 countries and aims to have at least 30 distributed data providers from 15 countries.

The cancer imaging data will be made available to the AI Testing and Experimentation Facility for Health (, established under the DIGITAL programme. This will allow small and medium-sized businesses who have developed artificial intelligence solutions for cancer care to test them in real-life environments. Other testing facilities will also be considered.

Furthermore, the European Digital Innovation Hubs under the DIGITAL Programme will support the rollout of the technologies relevant for the initiative. They will inform the innovators about the legal requirements and testing facilities available to them. They will also provide a range of services to digital solution users and providers, such as test-before-invest services, training and networking opportunities as well as access to finances.

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