euCanSHare: EU-Canada joint data platform to facilitate multi-study cardiovascular research

Brussels, 11 December 2018

Today, the European Society of Cardiology’s (ESC) office in Brussels hosted the kick-off meeting for the EU-funded project, euCanSHare. The project will create a translational research platform to facilitate cardiovascular data sharing among sixteen leading research centres in the European Union (EU) and Canada. Once established, researchers will benefit from a consolidated one-stop, data shop to perform efficient and effective research that results in tailor-made patient treatment and better cardiovascular disease outcomes.

Even with recent declines in deaths, cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the number one killer in Europe, causing 3.8 million deaths per year across Europe and the Mediterranean (1.8 million deaths in the European Union alone), with 30% premature deaths. Technology and data sharing through compiling and analysing large amounts of cardiovascular data holds the key to reducing premature deaths and increasing quality of life for those living with heart disease. There is a need for data-driven approaches that link molecular, imaging, functional and clinical data. This integration presents a formidable challenge to data storage, management and analysis, IT capacity and accessibility. The euCanSHare project is designed to fill this gap.

The project integrates the most well-established data infrastructures, namely the European Genome-Phenome Archive (EGA), Euro-BioImaging and BBMRI-ERIC, to enhance and standardise data deposition, harmonisation and sharing procedures. It integrates more than 35 Canadian and European cohorts that make up over 1 million records. These cohorts include -omics (genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, just to name a few) cardiac imaging and clinical data.

The platform will promote the responsible exchange of data and demonstrate the potential for cardiovascular research in personalised medicine. euCanSHare is committed to reducing the cultural, behavioural and technological barriers to Open Science. This will also allow better policy making as data driven policies unlock the innovation potential and develop better prevention and treatment methods.

The project coordinator, Karim Lekadir, said, “this is an unprecedented opportunity to create a longawaited platform for sharing cardiovascular data across the Atlantic. It can prove a model for expanding data sharing to other disease areas, and in effect, deliver personalised care to reduce premature deaths and improve quality of life.”

euCanSHare is a 4-year (2018-2020), €6-million Research and Innovation Action funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme (grant agreement No 825903), under the call SC1-BHC05-2018 (“International flagship collaboration with Canada for human data storage, integration and
sharing to enable personalised medicine approaches”). All Canadian partners are funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).

The euCanSHare project will actively collaborate with other joint Canada-EU projects funded as part of the same aforementioned research call (SC1-BHC-05-2018). These projects are EUCANCan, iReceptor Plus, EUCAN-Connect, CINECA and RECODID, which will cover other biomedical domains such as oncology, immunology, genetics and infectious diseases.

euCanSHare structure and participants
The Consortium consists of sixteen partners coming from academia, medical associations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research centres and data infrastructures:

  1. University of Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Spain (Project Coordinator)
  2. Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Canada
  3. University Hospital of Hamburg (UKE), Germany
  4. Lynkeus (LYN), Italy
  5. Erasmus University Medical Centre (EMC), Netherlands
  6. Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), United Kingdom
  7. The Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University (MCGILL), Canada
  8. KU Leuven (KUL), Belgium
  9. Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC), Spain
  10. Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Spain
  11. European Society of Cardiology (ESC), France
  12. Biobanks and Biomolecular resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium
    (BBMRI-ERIC), Austria
  13. Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University (MCM), Canada
  14. National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland
  15. University of Medicine Greifswald, Germany
  16. Nostrum Biodiscovery (NBD), Spain