Big data and Artificial Intelligence for monitoring health status and quality of life after the cancer treatment

Specific Challenge
Currently available methods and strategies for diagnosis and treatment of cancer help clinicians continuously improve quality of care and prevent cancer deaths in the population. Accurate risk assessment, availability of genetic tests, timely diagnosis and effective treatment has created the impression of cancer being a chronic disease that can be cured. However, often rather aggressive treatment, psychological stress (anxiety and depression) can cause physical and psychological problems that may cause long-term after-cure consequences such as similar or other types of cancer, other types of (chronic) diseases and affect the quality of life of a patient. Therefore, the importance of addressing and, if possible, preventing long-term effects of cancer treatment is growing. In addition to patient-reported outcomes such as functional status, symptoms intensity and frequency, multiple domains of well-being and overall satisfaction with life, the use of big data can bring valuable information for monitoring health status and quality of life after the cancer treatment. Big Data can provide new opportunities to define statistical and clinical significance, but present also challenges as it requires specific analytical approaches.
Proposals should focus and deliver on how to better acquire, manage, share, model, process and exploit big data using, if appropriate, high performance computing to effectively monitor health status of individual patients, provide overall actionable insights at the point of care and improve quality of life after the cancer treatment. Relevant solutions include for example systems for determining and monitoring (taking also in account gender differences) the combined effects of cancer treatment, environment, lifestyle and genetics on the quality of life, enabling early identification of effects that can cause development of new medical conditions and/or impair the quality of life. Proposals preferably address relevant health economic issues, use patient reported outcome and experience measures (PROMs and PREMs) and take into account the relevant social aspects of health status and quality of life after cancer treatment. Integrated solutions should include suitable approaches towards security and privacy issues.

Information can be collected from traditional sources of health data (cohorts, comprehensive electronic health records or clinical registries, incl. genetic data, validated biomarkers for remission), from new sources of health data (mobile health apps and wearables) and from sources that are usually created for other purposes such as environmental data.

It is important to assure ethical aspects of data, confidentiality, and anonymity of data transfer and engagement of those who collect / code such data in its analysis and interpretation, in order to avoid misinterpretation and inappropriate conclusions by using proper annotation methodologies of the data. Involvement of those who work within healthcare systems, patients, family and relatives, and the general public is needed.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Participation of SMEs is encouraged.
Expected Impact:

The proposal should provide appropriate indicators to measure its progress and specific impact in the following areas:

Mapped comprehensive big data in a reachable and manageable way by applying principles for sharing and reusability, creating a network of knowledge by linking translation tools, heterogeneous data sources and biomedical texts for monitoring health status and quality of life after the cancer treatment;
Emerging data driven analytics and advanced simulation methods to study causal mechanisms and improve forecasts of ill-health, identification of disease trajectories and relapse;
Better and faster means of high quality response to prevent or timely address development of new medical conditions and/or improve the quality of life;
Better knowledge for improved patient counselling as well as to improve follow-up of patients;
Novel information on health maintenance, onset and course of medical conditions with a view to optimise prevention and treatment;
Evidence base for the development of policy strategies for prevention, early diagnosis, therapies as well as addressing health inequalities, support to patient registries at national level;
Improved quality of life after cancer treatment, strengthening personal confidence and enhancing employability;
Preventative strategies are established which have a real effect of reducing the occurrence of health disorders and co-morbidities associated with cancer treatment.

(Source: European Commission)

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