The Virtual Data Centre (VDC) of Cancer Core Europe was founded in 2020 and has the ambition to become the leading centre of real-life data collection in precision oncology. One of the ways in which the VDC aims to do this is by setting up a data sharing platform, facilitating clinical and translational researchers in doing exploratory analysis on rich datasets, including (but not limited to) genomic, imaging, clinical and treatment outcome information on patients.
The VDC will extend on earlier work of the data sharing and genomics taskforces and will adopt and, if necessary adapt, proven technologies, strategies and logistics that will facilitate researchers to comply with FAIR data stewardship practices in a GDPR compliant manner. A major consideration in which solutions form part of this platform is their sustainability in the future: the VDC platform will be stable yet flexible, allowing for adoption of new tools as technologies advance.
Among the current proven technologies, user-friendly tools already adopted and in the process of being rolled out onto the platform are SlideScore (for digital pathology imaging and data), XNAT (for biomedical imaging and data), and cBioPortal: the data-integration platform which also serves as a data repository for the clinical trial being conducted in CCE. Further exploration of tools to be adopted on the platform is ongoing, in collaboration with the other taskforce members of CCE.
Starting this year, each centre participating in CCE will have the opportunity to contribute cases to the collection gathered on the VDC platform, with volumes in this data collection estimated to reach 5000 cases in 2021, and 10000 in 2022. This collection cannot be set up successfully, however, without the involvement of multidisciplinary cancer researchers, data experts, and research IT experts, who are all crucial in order to tackle issues related to extraction and transformation of the data to harmonized international standards, and loading these onto the platform in a way that allows for integrative view and querying in an efficient manner. It is a team effort!