ESR wins bid to launch EU Thematic Network on advancing precision medicine for cancer patients

Vienna, Austria – June 14, 2024 – The European Society of Radiology (ESR) is pleased to announce the launch of a new Thematic Network dedicated to advancing precision medicine for cancer patients in Europe through AI-powered imaging.  The network was launched following a successful proposal submission by the ESR and Cancer Image Europe (EUCAIM) on the EU Health Policy Platform. The bid was one of four successful proposals to establish Thematic Networks with the ESR’s proposal receiving the highest number of votes of all submitted initiatives.

The Thematic Network, titled “Advancing Precision Medicine for Europe’s Cancer Patients with AI-powered Imaging” will offer a transformative approach to cancer care by enabling healthcare professionals to analyse vast amounts of patient data more efficiently and accurately.

Aligning with key EU health policy priorities and new legislation related to AI and digital health, and in strong partnership with the European Cancer Imaging Initiative, a flagship project under Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the Thematic Network aims to harness the potential of data and digital technologies, such as AI, to combat cancer more effectively. It will work closely with EUCAIM to develop more personalised and effective treatment strategies, potentially reducing the burden of cancer on individuals and society.

Amongst other activities, the initiative will establish a multidisciplinary network of stakeholders and host webinars and educational activities on interoperability, quality assurance, and the integration of AI solutions in cancer care. It will also engage with patient representatives to consider their needs and build trust in AI-powered care and discuss the impact of the AI Act and the European Health Data Space (EHDS) on AI-powered diagnostics in cancer care.

“Cancer continues to pose a significant burden on society, with Europe accounting for 25% of global cancer cases despite representing only one-tenth of the world’s population,” said Prof. Regina Beets-Tan, Scientific Director of the European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research (EIBIR) and a member of the Thematic Network’s core team. “In 2020 alone, 2.7 million EU citizens were diagnosed with cancer. Without decisive action, cancer could become the leading cause of death in Europe by 2035, with a projected increase of over 25% in lives lost. The launch of this network gives us a unique opportunity to invite health stakeholders to join the discussion, share good practices and jointly define recommendations and actions needed to address hurdles in the uptake of AI-based solutions and integrated approaches in the cancer care continuum.”

The network is expected to release a joint statement later in the year outlining its collective recommendations and actions.

Interested parties are cordially invited to join the Pitch Webinar on Monday, June 24, 10:00-12:00 CEST to learn more about the network. Please make sure to register in advance here.

The thematic network can be accessed by health stakeholders with an account in the EU Health Policy Platform here.

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