Research and innovation projects that have received EU funding
In recent years, we have invested significantly in international EU consortiums and our researchers, research groups and other experts from HUS have successfully participated in their formation. These EU funded research and innovation projects produce new knowledge and develop ever better patient care.
HUS’s investments in services that support scientific research, modern research tools, our data lake, and data and analytics have benefited our success in the EU projects. Thus, HUS increasingly cooperates with companies and we have become an attractive partner on EU level as well.
ENDOTARGET project studies the significance of gut microbiota in the onset and activity of certain rheumatic diseases. The project includes studying large patient cohorts and performing basic research on a cellular level.
IMPORTANT is a pharmaceutical trial that aims to determine if the CDK4/6 inhibitors, which are used to treat metastasised breast cancer in patients over the age of 70, are better tolerated but equally effective with a lower dose than the one that is currently used.
The study will be conducted in six EU countries. It will include about 500 patients in total, and the patient recruitment will start in early 2024.
Background: According to national and international recommendations, the combination of CDK4/6 inhibitors and hormonal therapy is the primary treatment for the majority of patients diagnosed with metastasised breast cancer. CDK4/6 inhibitors are cancer drugs administered as tablets that prevent cancer cells from dividing and growing. CDK4/6 inhibitors include drugs called palbociclib, ribociclib and abemaciclib.
Currently, all patients regardless of their general health are started on the same dose of CDK4/6 inhibitors. However, the common practice is to reduce the starting dose of CDK4/6 inhibitors in elderly breast cancer patients to reduce the risk of adverse effects and to avoid stopping the therapy too early.
In the IMPORTANT project, the patients’ state of health is assessed with a questionnaire called Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment. The questionnaire is used to determine whether the patient has reduced functional capacity and could be at a higher risk of adverse effects from the usual dose of CDK4/6 inhibitors. Patients who are identified–based on the questionnaire–to have reduced functional capacity, are randomized to receive either the usual dose of CDK4/6 inhibitor or a reduced starting dose.
Contact person in HUS: Peeter Karihtala
The i4KIDS-Europe project aims to create a European innovator ecosystem in pediatrics and child health. The development and implementation of new innovative technologies to benefit pediatric patients requires improving the conditions and efficiency of innovations in EU member states, both nationally and regionally. Investing in innovations that develop children's health care also contributes to European competitiveness and development of growth companies in this field.
The project will identify barriers to innovation, especially in operators that are less active and in countries that have a low level of innovation. The project also creates a network of European operators and innovation hubs. Participants of the i4KIDS-Europe project are Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Spain (coordinator), Children’s Clinical University Hospital (Riga, Latvia), Fundacja K.I.D.S. Klub Innowatorow Dzieciecych Szpiyatali (Poland), Region Hovedstaden (Denmark), HUS Children and Adolescents (Finland), EIT Health (Spain) and Inveniam Group (Cartago Ventures, Spain).
Contact person at HUS: Pekka Kahri
ONCOVALUE project aims to make the data collected in European cancer hospitals available more efficiently. The project was launched in December 2022. In addition to HUS Comprehensive Cancer Center, the consortium members include cancer hospitals from the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, and Italy, as well as technology companies. The companies aim to develop new tools utilising AI to automatically collect and analyze data produced in patient care. ONCOVALUE operates on a value-based model, where the value of healthcare is measured by the gained health benefits, and not just by the cost of care or the amount of available services.
The PCM4EU project started in January 2023 and will run for two years (2023–2025). HUS Comprehensive Cancer Center’s FINPROVE research project is part of the PCM4EU consortium that includes 17 partners in 15 European countries. The project is coordinated from Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) in the Netherlands. The PCM4EU aims to promote DRUP (drug repurpose) trials in Europe and to improve the diagnostics of precision cancer medicine. The project is funded by EU’s health programme.
Contact person in HUS: Katriina Jalkanen, Head Physician, Comprehensive Cancer Center
PHEMS project will advance data-driven research and innovation activities in pediatrics and the use of privacy-preserving datasets in Europe. The project’s aim is to overcome important barriers that currently hinder cross-border collaboration on health data by developing and validating a decentralized health data ecosystem.
The PRIME-ROSE project was launched in July 2023, and it will run for five years (2023–2028). HUS Comprehensive Cancer Center’s FINPROVE research project is part of a consortium that includes a total of 24 partners in 18 European countries. The project is led by Oslo University Hospital. Combining expertise across borders promotes precision cancer medicine and cancer diagnostics in Europe. The aim is to improve access to optimized and reasonably-priced precision cancer medicines that prolong life and improve quality of life for cancer patients. The project cooperates with public officials, politicians, treatment units, and patient organizations. The PRIME-ROSE project is funded by EU Cancer Mission, which is part of the Horizon Europe funding programme.
Contact person in HUS: Katriina Jalkanen, Head Physician, Comprehensive Cancer Center
Contact person in HUS: Maarit Venermo, Chief Physician, Abdominal Center
The 4-year research project aims to identify the mechanisms behind the long-term effects of COVID-19. The project will be carried out at the HUS Outpatient Clinic for Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 through cohort and registry studies, mechanistic studies, and intervention and follow-up studies involving long COVID patients. The project utilizes omics technology to identify the predisposing factors and biomarkers leading to the development of long-term symptoms of COVID-19. The results of the project can benefit the treatment of patients both at HUS and internationally.
The AICCELERATE project consists of three pilots whose purpose is to produce effective and cost-efficient health care services by leveraging advanced artificial intelligence technologies. The project involves developing platform solutions for a smart hospital, smart digital care pathways, and ways of optimizing hospital operations. After proof of concept in the pilots, the aim is to add this scheme to service development in specialist medical care. One of the goals of the project is to raise the efficiency of care modules and to cut costs by 20–30%. In addition, the new digital care pathways and tools are intended to improve the experience of both the patient and the healthcare professional in using the new tools, which would also increase the medical staff’s working hours available for patient care.
Read more on the AICCELERATE project:
In the AI-Mind project, the aim of the researchers is to screen patients suffering from mild cognitive deterioration for early identification of those who have a substantially elevated risk of developing a memory disorder in the next few years. At the moment, memory disorders are often only diagnosed when they are at a considerably advanced stage, and current treatments tend to focus on managing the symptoms rather than arresting the progress of the disease. However, the progress of memory disorders could be significantly slowed with measures such as effective treatment of cardiovascular disease risk factors, nutrition, and cognitive rehabilitation.
When the risk of dementia is identified at an early stage, monitoring and support can be focused on patients who would benefit from this the most. The tools to be developed in the study for early risk identification would improve cost-effectiveness in the treatment of memory disorders. In addition to the enormous human distress they cause, memory disorders inflict huge direct and indirect costs on society at large, and these will increase with the ageing of the population. Today, there are considerable differences between European countries in the diagnostics of memory disorders; another aim of this study is to develop a uniform care chain, which would improve equitable access to treatment.
Read more on the AI Mind project
The purpose of the BIGPICTURE project is to create the first European ethical and privacy-compatible pathology operating environment by using artificial intelligence algorithms. The project involves building a platform, with contributions by pathologists, researchers, AI developers, patients, and industry representatives. The data and algorithms shared on the platform are available to researchers, and this will continue to be maintained after the project ends. In this project, HUS is coordinating the collecting of diagnostic samples from the lungs and respiratory system and providing clinical expert assistance in building a secure user environment for pathology images.
Read more on the BIGPICTURE project
DECIDER is a research and innovation project whose purpose is to improve the diagnostics and treatment of ovarian cancer. The project involves developing new diagnostic tools to identify ovarian cancer patients for whom current treatments are not effective, more reliably and at an earlier stage. This is done by applying AI-based image analysis to genome data obtained from, e.g., the tumor and data on cells and tissue architecture of the tumor. Another aim is to identify effective individual treatments for these patients on the basis of data obtained from their tumors.
The purpose of the project is to promote use of genome data by eliminating many of the current challenges involved. The project is about using AI to develop improved risk assessment methods and testing them in an international biobank network and in collaboration with practical health care operators in the HUS area in Finland, and in Estonia and Italy.
In the segment of the project to be implemented with HUS, a group of patients diagnosed with breast cancer and their families will be offered the opportunity of obtaining risk data based on the prognostic tools developed in the project.
The project is coordinated by the University of Helsinki, and its Finnish participants, apart from HUS, are the Helsinki Biobank (which is subordinate to HUS), Aalto University and the CSC (IT Center for Science).
The name of the VoiCEsproject Value of including the Children Experience for improving their rightS during hospitalization refers to the realization of children’s rights during their hospital stay as experienced by the children themselves.
The aim of the 2.5-year project is to strengthen children’s participation in assessing and improving the quality of pediatric care. The project will develop a PREMs survey (Patient-Reported Experience Measures) for children, which describes the child’s own experience of the care they have received.
The survey is generated between the project operators and pediatric care experts using the delphi method. In support of compiling the survey, experiences on pediatric care are collected from the children, their parents and the pediatric care professionals. The survey will be tested in the children’s hospitals participating in the project and evaluated before more extensive implementation. During the project, the aim is to collect feedback from approximately 16,000 patients.
Anonymized feedback can be used as reference data to improve the operations of the children’s hospitals involved in the project. On the basis of the results, training and guidance material will also be compiled for the children, families and employees on how to better take the needs and experiences of the child into consideration during their inpatient hospital care. Once completed, the survey will be available for wider use in children’s hospitals across Europe.
In addition to the HUS New Children's Hospital, the project involves partners from Italy, Latvia, and the Netherlands. The project is led by Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e Perfezionamento Sant'Anna from Pisa.
CoroPrevention is a Europe-wide coronary artery disease study that investigates the impact of personalized patient care in preventing cardiovascular events. Six European countries are involved in the project and 12,000 patients with an arteriosclerosis diagnosis and CHD will be included in the study. Of these patients, 2,000 will be screened in laboratory examinations to identify those at high risk of coronary events. These patients are drawn into two groups so that half of the patients receive an application on their phone that guides the patient in managing exercise, nutrition, weight management and medical care, among other things. Half of the patients remain in the control group and receive conventional treatment. Patients are monitored for three years for any new cardiovascular events.
The aim is to determine whether personalized treatment can influence the prevention of cardiovascular events. The study uses a completely new medical device developed specifically for this research in cooperation between the Hasselt University and the University of Oulu. The device guides the patient and monitors the implementation of the guidance.
Children have been left without studied drugs for a long time and modern drug development has not benefited children as much as adults. Approximately half of the medicines are prescribed to children without having marketing authorization for the purpose of treating the disease in the children’s age groups. Up to 90% of the medicines prescribed to newborns are such off-label use. The benefit and harm ratio of medicines prescribed to children has not been established with certainty and with official assessment in the age groups of children, in which case the harms of the drugs may also be revealed too late, the dosage may be incorrect, or the efficacy of the medicine may be lacking.
As a result, a plan has now been initiated to increase children’s drug trial capacity and know-how through a large-scale EU-funded conect4children (C4C) development project.
The aim of the project is to develop better medicines for babies, children and adolescents through an extensive European clinical trial network. The aim is to guarantee the efficacy, safety and quality of medicines for children and to speed up the achievement of the proof of concept phase of medicines, to improve the current drug development process and to develop new products with a high medical need and a small market. The project, which brings together twenty-one European countries, involves more than 30 hospitals or research organizations and 10 pharmaceutical companies.
The full name and description in English for the IMI2-PainCare project is Improving the care of patients suffering from acute or chronic pain.
A patient’s recovery from surgery is largely influenced by pain. Some patients also develop prolonged postoperative pain (a very severe form for about 3% of patients, and at least moderate for 10–15% of patients). The IMI2-PainCare project aims to identify and standardize, using variables reported by the patients themselves, the key factors affecting recovery and the risk of prolonged pain, such as functional capacity, psychological factors, sleep, and laboratory test results. Based on the results of the study, it is possible to further assess high-risk patients, use preventive measures with them, and choose more extensive pain relief methods or longer follow-ups.
The aim of the PiPPi project is to establish cooperation between the various stakeholders (for example, physician, nurse, researcher, product developer, industry) and to work among the stakeholders to resolve the true challenges of health care through innovation procurement.
The idea is that in health care, for example, a physician, nurse or patient notices a need that is brought to the platform as a public challenge. Together, a solution in the form of innovation procurement will be developed with the help of cooperation, research, and the industry sectors. The open, cross-border and web-based PiPPi Platform will function as the tool for building cooperation.
The BOUNCE project models the trajectory of the resilience of an early-stage breast cancer patient, i.e. adaptability, during oncological treatments and during the follow-up phase. An algorithm based on our research is used to identify factors that affect patient resilience. These include patient-specific traits and psychosocial factors based on extensive surveys, socio-demographic background factors and lifestyles, as well as the cancer, its treatments, and the side effects of the treatments. The impact of these factors is measured on quality of life and mental wellbeing.
Based on the algorithms of the BOUNCE project, the use of a digital tool designed in the project can later be assessed in the determination of patient resilience. This requires further development, tool evaluation and integration into a suitable digital platform with commercial partners also after the project is complete. The project produces extensive research data on the resilience of breast cancer patients, which can already be applied in practical work without a finished CE-approved tool.
The full name and description of the PROOF project is Penumbral Rescue by Normobaric O=O Administration in Patients With Ischaemic Stroke and Target Mismatch ProFile: A Phase II Proof-of-Concept Trial. The project is being coordinated by Eberhard Karls from Universitaet Tübingen in Germany.
The full name of the ALBINO project is Effect of Allopurinol in addition to hypothermia for hypoxic-ischemic Brain Injury on Neurocognitive Outcome. The project involves research centers from 13 European countries.
The nine-year project explores the effectiveness of allopurinol on the neurological survival of asphyctic newborns who have been given hypothermic treatment The aim of the project is to determine whether allopurinol is beneficial in the treatment of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). The aim of the study is to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of the drug in a sufficiently large patient population, to find the optimal dose and to develop it into a pediatric preparation for the treatment of HIE.
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, also causes mortality and disability in developed countries, where a severe case of HIE is diagnosed in one or two of every thousand newborns. Hypothermic treatment improves the prognosis of these asphyctic newborns, but despite the treatment, approximately half of the newborns treated either die or are disabled. Other treatments are needed. Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor and reduces the production of oxygen radicals and brain damage in experimental, animal, and early human clinical studies.
The aim of the study is to determine whether allopurinol, along with hypothermic treatment, reduces neonatal mortality and severe disability at the age of two. At the same time, the safety and pharmacokinetics of allopurinol are studied in asphyctic newborns.