p-medicine Summer School in Computational Oncology

July 10, 2013

Cancer is a complex disease that we only begin to understand. In the domain of Computational Oncology, clinicians, scientist, legal scholars, engineers and IT specialists have joined forces in developing tools, infrastructures and services to process, analyze and contextualize vast amounts of data in order to optimize individualized patient treatment, a key issue in modern cancer therapy.

The EU FP7 project p-medicine is one of a number of research projects arising from the broader VPH (Virtual Physiological Human) community. Research in p-medicine is devoted to creating such an infrastructure that will facilitate the translation from current practice to personalized and preventive medicine. Prof. Norbert Graf from the Saarland University Hospital coordinates the p-medicine project, which maintains strong ties to its partner projects VPH-Share, EURECA, INTEGRATE and CHIC. From 24 to 28 June 2013, Prof. Graf and the organizing team from p-medicine’s management partner Eurice welcomed more than 35 researchers, clinicians, medical and engineering students to the 2nd Summer School in Computational Oncology, the first seminar in clinical medicine held at the renowned Leibniz Center for Informatics at Schloss Dagstuhl in Wadern, Germany.

With its remote location, its state-of-the-art facilities and on-site catering and accommodation, Schloss Dagstuhl provided the ideal location for one week of knowledge exchange and in-depth discussions. The interdisciplinary workshop offered a balanced mix of presentations and tool demonstrations focused on five key aspects at stake in computational oncology: Impact of VPH on Personalized Medicine, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics, Law and Ethics in Personalized Medicine, Usability, and Interoperability and Sustainability. International experts such as Stelios Sfakianakis (Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas), Prof. Thomas Lengauer (Saarland University), Prof. Nikolaus Forgó (Leibniz University Hannover), Brecht Claerhout (Custodix), Prof. Dieter Wallach (University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern) and Prof. Kathy Pritchard-Jones (University College London) gave insight into their work and research in keynote lectures framing each of the five main topics.  

A trip to Trier, Germany’s oldest city, not only included sightseeing, relaxing and wine tasting, it also provided a good opportunity for further networking between the projects and a great basis for closer future collaboration.

The 3rd Summer School in Computational Oncology will be held in 2014. It will be organized within the scope of the p-medicine partner project CHIC – “Computational Horizons in Cancer. Developing Meta- and Hyper-Multiscale Models and Repositories for In Silico Oncology.”