Imaging plays a key role in precision cancer medicine and translational cancer research. Cancer diagnosis requires imaging for the detection, characterization, and staging of disease, as well as the planning of biopsies to inform histological confirmation.
Imaging biomarkers complement genomic and molecular diagnostics and provide insights into tumor biology, tumor environment and the changes in response to therapies. They are also of crucial importance in improving treatment planning and monitoring, as well as follow-up.
The main objectives of CCE’s Imaging Task Force are as follows:
- Develop and validate quantitative imaging biomarkers in accordance with harmonized cross-center imaging guidelines in order to add value to cancer research.
- Advance therapy monitoring in multicenter clinical studies by, for example, identifying imaging-based features of response to therapy including immune checkpoint inhibitors to improve patient diagnosis and treatment outcomes.
- Provide services to clinical partners within the CCE BoB trial and beyond, by standardized reporting across all centers on staging and therapy monitoring, as well as the provision of standardized imaging data for collective use within CCE’s data sharing infrastructure.
The Imaging TF therefore supports and facilitates close collaboration between the CCE centers and helps to position CCE as a central innovation hub for translational cancer research and precision medicine in oncology in Europe.
The activities linked to the above-mentioned objectives contribute directly to the work of two programs; Clinical Trials and Translational Research, and Virtual Data Center. The Imaging TF enables multicenter trials and supports the translation of new developments into clinical practice in CCE’s member centers. In the coming years, the Imaging TF plans to launch pilot projects that connect data sources, centers and sites to advance novel research (technological pilot projects and personalized medicine pilot projects by combining multiple data types such as multi-omics, imaging, and clinical parameters.
Moreover, this TF aims to improve the utility of the Virtual Data Center by extending its functionality to facilitate data exchange as well as the sharing of methods and workflows, including their execution. Important examples from a radiological perspective whereby unified processing across CCE through shared methods would be greatly beneficial, include interactive and automatic data annotation and segmentation, radiomics pipelines as well as deep-learning and AI-based image analyses.
In the future, the Imaging TF aims to become increasingly involved in expanding joint CCE training and education activities such as organizing trainings and exchange programs covering specific technical areas (for data stewards, IT experts, cloud technologists, AI imaging researchers, radiologists, medical physicists, and technicians). To educate on and around the importance of imaging for translational cancer research and stimulate research in imaging and molecular ‘omics analyses, this TF will especially commit to CCE’s summer school series in translational cancer research.