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OUH and CAI-X are responsible for artificial intelligence in a huge EU project to fight cancer

A nearly 300 million DKK EU project will pave the way for improving screening programmes for several types of cancer.

CAI-X will have a key role in the pan-European consortium when the ambitious project EUCanScreen goes live in June 2024.

EUCanScreen is a Joint Action involving several EU countries to address the EU's central health challenges. The general objective of EUCanScreen is to assure sustainable implementation of high-quality screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers, as well as implementation of the recently recommended screening programs – for lung, prostate and gastric cancers.

- OUH's role will be to contribute with research and knowledge of using artificial intelligence as part of the screening programmes that we have worked with for a number of years in both bowel cancer and breast cancer, says Benjamin S. Rasmussen, Head of Clinical Research at CAI-X. Furthermore, at OUH and SDU, we have developed an evidence-based model for how to evaluate and validate clinical AI. We are now sharing that knowledge with 28 other European countries, so that we will be better at detecting and treating cancer earlier, he says.

In the project, OUH will disseminate experiences from using AI for breast cancer diagnostics and further develop the assessment model MAS-AI (Model for Assessment of Artificial Intelligence) into a European model, and test it on clinical use-cases in Europe. In addition, the project will uncover barriers in the population to participate in screening programmes for cancer, develop individualised patient information for future screening programmes and create training programmes in artificial intelligence and breast cancer screening.

OUH as a leading example

It is a great recognition that OUH has been designated as a Danish leading example in an international project of this scale, emphasises Kurt Espersen, Group Managing Director of the Region of Southern Denmark.

- It is a testament to the fact that we have assembled some of the most talented people and are conducting research of the highest quality in the field. We are proud to contribute to such a visionary and important field. Our approach is that AI must be used close to the clinic and for the benefit of the patients, and that is very much in line with the project, he says.

Artificial intelligence and cancer screening have received funding in recent years in several newer projects in the region, adds Anja Lund, Chair of the Committee for Digitalisation and Innovation. This applies to AI in mammography and an elite research centre working on artificial intelligence and bowel examinations.

- We have seen great potential in AI in the future healthcare system, and therefore we have also made it a political priority to strengthen and develop the area. This means that today we can build on a very strong and promising foundation, she says.

Facts about EUCanScreen

The project is coordinated by the University of Latvia and brings together 29 countries (25 EU member states + Ukraine, Moldova, Norway and Iceland). OUH is the only Danish partner invited to the project to represent the Danish screening programmes and contribute with expertise concerning clinically applied AI.

From OUH, four units are participating:

The total budget for the entire EUCanScreen is €38,75 million, of which 80% is financed by the EU4Health programme. €951.000 is going to CAI-X together with partners at OUH and SDU, with 80% funding from the EU4Health programme. The project will run for 4 years, starting June 2024.