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CHIC

CHIC proposes the development of a suite of tools and services in a secure infrastructure that will support accessibility and reusability of VPH mathematical and computational hypermodels, and will initially be tested in the cancer domain. The aim is that by executing such hypermodels, clinicians will be assisted in selecting the most suitable therapy for each individual patient.

Description

Introduction

CHIC proposes the development of a suite of tools and services in a secure infrastructure that will support accessibility and reusability of VPH mathematical and computational hypermodels, and will initially be tested in the cancer domain. The aim is that by executing such hypermodels, clinicians will be assisted in selecting the most suitable therapy for each individual patient.

 

Motivation

The impressive rate of the generation of human biological data during the last decades has dictated the development of numerous statistical, computational and mathematical methods in order to extract, analyze and exploit the hidden wealth of information therein. Unquestionably systems biology has been established as a key player in this arena. Nevertheless, in order for models generally developed by different modelers or modeling groups to be reusable, there are a number of prerequisites that have to be satisfied. Models should be robust, reproducible and interoperable. This implies that standardization of model description and operation is a sine qua non if rational, coherent and comprehensive exploitation of the invaluable information hidden within human multiscale biological data is envisaged. Responding to this imperative in the context of both the broad (VPH) initiative and the paradigmal cancer domain is what CHIC stands for. In order to ensure clinical relevance and foster clinical acceptance of hypermodeling in the future, the whole endeavor will be driven by the clinical partners of the consortium in practice. Cancer hypermodels to be collaboratively developed by the consortium cancer modelers will provide the framework and the testbed for the development of the CHIC infrastructure. Clinical adaptation and partial clinical validation of hypermodels and hypermodel oncosimulators will also be undertaken.

 

Challenges and Highlights

The main challenge for the L3S Research Center is to set up an ethical and legal framework to guarantee compliance with existing rules governing the field of patients’ medical data. This framework will help partners to process data on valid legal grounds within the project. In addition, the L3S Research Center will clearly define who is entitled to do what with existing models and data sets from inside and outside the consortium. Specific attention will be given to the fact that CHIC involves an amalgamation of models which adds additional complexity to defining roles and responsibilities in the project. In the same vein, a deep analysis will be done on the protectability and the pros and cons of copyright protection in the field.

Subsequently, as the CHIC project approaches its conclusion in May 2017, L3S has prepared an updated iteration of the data protection framework, which will allow the modelling infrastructure developed in the project to be further refined and exploited beyond the formal end date, including by enabling clinicians to test the utility of the system in individual cases. To this end, appropriate model informed consent forms, which cover relevant patient data processing, have also been developed.  

 

Potential Applications and Future Issues

A key aspect of the CHIC architecture is the planned modularity of the system. All developed software, tools and services should be as granular and modular as possible and provide standardized, open interfaces and functionality descriptions (e.g. via something similar to WSDL (Web Services Description Language)) so that a user can build new models as a composition of existing granular tools. As an example, a tool only needs to be developed once that will link gene expression data of a tumor with the KEGG database. If this tool is as generic as possible and if the interface is standardized, this tool can be used in different settings and models, independent of the underlying tumor or disease.

The facilitation of data exchange with other health care systems in accordance with the legal framework is of great importance to the architecture of the CHIC platform. Otherwise it will become an “information island” that contains different patients’ data sets, isolated from other information about the patients with limited access and value. As a result, the CHIC platform will be designed to interoperate with other systems throughout the entire health and clinical studies information environment. At a minimum, CHIC should export anonymized data to and import data from other systems in a standardized (and interoperable) way. To provide interoperability, the CHIC platform is developing messaging from the outset and content encoding standards to support communication with other health information systems (HIS) like EHR.

Team
Research area
Web Governance
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