The long-term objective of CECM is to create a Polish centre of excellence for computational medicine – a rapidly emerging technological domain that will dominate worldwide healthcare in the 21st century.
We propose to establish an innovative Centre for New Methods in Computational Diagnostics and Personalised Therapy in Kraków, which will aggregate the skills and facilities necessary to deliver emerging concepts in computational medicine as clinically-ready Decision Support Systems.
The introductory one-year Teaming for Excellence H2020 project will produce a Business Plan for the future Centre. An appropriate work plan has been developed for the CSA, which focuses on the delivery of the Business Plan as well as paving the ground for Phase 2 actions. The proposal intends to bridge the innovation gap between better-performing EU research institutions and those with a lower quality of scientific output.
With its origins in the investigation of cardiac arrhythmia in the 1960s, the use of computer simulation to assist medical diagnosis and treatment has been pioneered by experts with knowledge spanning the twin disciplines of engineering and medicine, bringing to healthcare an approach that is commonplace in aerospace, automobile design and civil engineering. Computational medicine is the automated use of powerful computational facilities to bring four key benefits to patients:
- Personalised assessment, diagnosis and treatment, derived from imaging and other clinical data;
- New measures of disease (“biomarkers”), computed from 3D models using FEA (Finite Element Analysis) and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics);
- Access to a comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge base of medical understanding;
- Accelerated introduction of new drugs and devices, using in silico development methods.
Sophisticated computational techniques already assist patients with cardiovascular and musculoskeletal diseases, and the development of clinical care pathways to include advanced computational workflows is well underway. As these methodologies begin to extend and democratise clinical practice, we expect to witness an explosion in the development of computational workflows, steadily replacing traditional methods with computer-guided diagnosis and treatment. Whilst it will fall to clinical specialists worldwide to develop new in silico interventional concepts, there is a clear need for the creation of integrated interdisciplinary centres to develop, validate and deploy the resulting Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS), for which forecasts suggest annual growth in excess of 20%, for the foreseeable future.
The Centre will therefore establish the generic development engine capable of transforming any innovative computational healthcare solution into a deployable clinical reality.
Poland, and in particular the Małopolska region, are poised to play a key role in this new domain of applied computational medicine:
- Kraków educates large numbers of medical and IT professionals, and routinely engages in interdisciplinary research with Europe’s world-leading in silico research community;
- There is a high concentration of research hospitals in and around the city;
- The entrepreneurial community has recently entered a phase of rapid growth, and this includes life science companies.
The Centre will exploit these advantages to build a world-class facility, attractive to all CDSS developers, and will have a major impact at both regional and national scales, with lasting benefits for Polish and pan-European society.
CECM provides a unique mixture of competences and resources from leading European science and innovation institutions, representing all the relevant domains:
- The University of Sheffield and Insigneo Institute – experts in translation of in silico modelling and simulations to clinics;
- Forschungszentrum Juelich Supercomputing Centre – experts in modern HPC and data techniques, applied for science and industry;
- Fraunhofer ISI – experts in systemic multi-domain solutions and innovation in medicine;
- ACK Cyfronet, AGH – local experts in simulation and provisioning computing infrastructures for science;
- Klaster LifeScience Krakow – Poland’s top cluster of industry, academia and hospitals for the life science domain.
They will work together with partners from Poland (the “widening country”):