Using Big Data technology to achieve better outcomes for patients with blood cancers

2017 - 11 - 23

LIH is an associate member of the HARMONY Alliance, a European Network of Excellence in Haematology, composed of more than 50 partners from the public and private sector supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) 2 Joint Undertaking. This large-scale project is an unparalleled medicine offensive to battle blood cancers by using Big Data analyses.

Blood cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, affect the production and function of blood cells and account for about 40% of cancer cases in children and about one third of cancer deaths. As many blood cancers are rare, and healthcare practice varies across the European Union, a lack of data on relevant outcomes represents a challenge for clinicians, researchers, and other decision-makers like regulators and health technology assessment bodies, resulting in limitations for patient access to the best healthcare. The HARMONY Alliance aims to use "Big Data and Big Data analytics" to deliver information that will help to improve the care of blood cancer patients.

On 23rd and 24th October, the 2nd HARMONY General Assembly was organised in Berlin, gathering more than 120 representatives discussing the achievements as well as the roadmap for the coming years. One of the most important milestones that was jointly achieved, is the establishment of HARMONY’s Big Data platform. Public and private organisations will contribute data on most blood cancers. The use of a common data model that adheres to the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) data sharing principles will allow analysis at an unprecedented scale. This will contribute to a better understanding of cancer, leading to the evolution of improved targeted therapies that will benefit patients.

HARMONY Alliance is coordinated by the Institute of Biomedical Research of Salamanca, Spain. At LIH, Dr Guy Berchem, Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research at the Department of Oncology, is involved in the project.

This news item is derived from a press release from the HARMONY Alliance.