EUCANCan Annual Meeting on May 24-25, 2022

On May 24-25, the EUCANCan consortium got together for a hybrid meeting. For two days, parts of the team met in Toronto, Canada, and the rest connected online to take stock of the project’s progress to date and discuss the last project year.

First nodes connected to the EUCANCan portal

Day one of the consortium meeting included a series of presentations by all work package leaders, bringing everyone up to speed on the recent achievements of their teams.

EUCANCan’s Coordinator on the Canadian side, Prof Lincoln Stein of the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR), shared good news from WP4 (A federation of data portals for interoperability across EUCANCan nodes and responsible sharing of patient genomic data). To date, the group has successfully deployed and connected three nodes to the EUCANCan portal: Berlin, Barcelona and Toronto.

Managing large volumes of data in centralized systems

Acquiring and integrating large volumes of data into centralized systems was a running theme during the meeting. Onco Trials Track has been developed in the context of WP5 (Standardized clinical reporting across sites), led by Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) in Barcelona, Spain. This public platform allows patients and their clinicians to filter cancer clinical trials based on criteria such as tumour type, biomarkers, and research centre. Dr Rodrigo Dienstmann of VHIO shared insights into his team’s work to streamline the process of integrating new data into the system.

Dr Philippe Hupé of Institut Curie leads EUCANCan’s WP2 (Genome analysis pipelines to support the therapeutic decision). He gave an update on geniac, a comprehensive toolbox for genome analysis and benchmarking efforts, helping bioinformaticians and statisticians to harmonize how they prototype, develop and manage pipelines to analyze high-throughput data. The team has also developed a Variant Call Format (VCF) benchmarking tool and completed a benchmarking of different genome analysis pipelines across different EUCANCan partners. Dr Hupé shared the initial results of this initiative with the consortium during the meeting.  

EUCANCan’s final project year

EUCANCan is designed as a testbed to test out different technical and sociological solutions to issues related to technical and legal aspects of sharing oncology data between institutions within and across Europe and Canada. Lessons learned and process best practices produced by EUCANCan will be shared both within the consortium and externally to benefit other research consortia and institutions. In line with this aim, WP6 (Ethico-legal framework for clinical oncology data), led by McGill University in Montreal, Canada, aims to produce a toolkit for sharing data between regions and countries with different data privacy laws.

To further support the dissemination and exploitation of knowledge produced by the EUCANCan consortium, WP7 (Dissemination and Exploitation), led by LINQ in Berlin, Germany, is planning a number of workshops and training events for the final project year.

For the upcoming months, the consortium feels confident that it can continue to move its research work forward and produce valuable results.