Setting up the European-Canadian Cancer Network: First meeting of the EUCANCan consortium in Barcelona

From February 11 to 12, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) hosted the kickoff meeting for the EUCANCan project (European-Canadian Cancer Network), jointly funded by the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The goal of this Canada-Europe federated network is the globalization of Genomic Oncology and Personalized Medicine, with LINQ leading the work package “Dissemination and exploitation”.

The ambitious four-year project is coordinated by David Torrents, PhD at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain, and will set up a network of reference nodes in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Heidelberg, Paris, Montreal and Toronto. These reference nodes will work together in an interoperable fashion to provide the genomic oncology community with a uniform computing environment for the processing, harmonization and secure sharing of cancer genome and phenome data in the context of clinical research, enabling the discovery of clinically-relevant patterns of variation in the cancer genome such as biomarkers predictive of therapeutic response. The infrastructure will also provide a proving ground for federated genome analysis systems that may one day be integrated into national and regional healthcare systems.

The two-day kickoff meeting was attended by delegates from all 18 consortium members with expertise in the fields of genomic and clinical data generation, genomic and clinical data analysis and pipeline benchmarking, ethical and legal issues regarding genomic and clinical data sharing, data management and HPC and cloud infrastructure.

The group discussed project goals, potential challenges, and drafted the work plan for the upcoming year. To conclude the meeting LINQ presented the project website, Corporate Identity, and a roadmap on future communication activities.

Following the kickoff meeting LINQ seized the opportunity to tour BSC’s impressive supercomputer, the MareNostrum.

EUCANCan will receive 5,999,453.75 EUR of funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as well as funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research over the duration of four years, starting from January 1st 2019.