Icon The digital twin

Practical example and current challenges

  • Modern cancer treatment is characterised by a multidisciplinary and distributed approach. This means that a large number of treatment procedures are carried out as part of the therapy, often in different clinical centres and by different people.
  • In essence, personalised medicine seeks to provide patients with a treatment plan that takes into account their individual needs. A central challenge of personalised medicine is that the best possible range of treatment for a patient is not always available close to where he or she lives but requires decentralised and locally distributed treatment processes. For example, there may be cases where not all available treatment options are provided close to where the patient lives or the necessary form of therapy is not (yet) approved/ licensed in a particular country.
  • For the documentation of oncological cases there are currently no cross-institutional standards or processes for data exchange. This leads to heterogeneous procedures, often characterised by media breaks (e.g. digital and analogue), in which the data can only be merged into a co-herent overall picture of the patient at great expense.
  • The existence of isolated databases at different treatment centres also requires aggregating entirely different sets of data – a process which takes a lot of time and effort and is error-prone. This is a significant barrier to innovation as forward-looking studies require high case numbers in order to yield meaningful results.
  • The existence of decentralised data silos in individual treatment centres also necessitates a complex and error-prone consolidation of a wide range of data sources. These are a strong barrier to innovation, since large numbers of cases are often required for future-oriented studies with significant results.
The digital twin

What added value does the "GAIA-X project" offer?

  • GAIA-X allows the secure, harmonised and Europe-wide storage, processing and presentation of data. Thus, it contributes to a comprehensive establishment of personalised medicine for the citizens of Europe. For patients, this means that individual characteristics are taken into account as far as possible when choosing therapy centres.
  • Doctors benefit from the coherent availability of the digital patient twin. As a result, treatments can be carried out anywhere and local restrictions are eliminated.
  • Providers of therapeutic procedures (e.g. pharmaceutical companies and medical technology manufacturers) benefit from improved and accelerated documentation of the effectiveness of their products. This allows trends in cancer treatment to be identified early and incorporated accordingly in the planning of their own research activities.
  • Medical research benefits sustainably from the extensive and granular data collection, which forms a valuable and significant foundation for the further development of medical diagnostics and therapy. Furthermore, especially in the field of artificial intelligence, there are significant advantages due to the available case quantity.

Use Case Team

  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Neumuth – Leipzig University and Innovation Center Computer Assisted Surgery (ICCAS)