From 16-17 June 2022, PANCAIM partners met in Nijmegen for the project 18-month consortium meeting. It was the first in-person meeting of the project, and a much-appreciated opportunity to talk not only online via MS teams but also over a coffee and local sweets.

During the work package presentations and discussions, partners shared progress and updates, discussed risks and challenges, and aligned on next steps. After a very productive meeting, team members returned to their respective institutions with a renewed ambition for the project as well as a long todo list for the coming months:

We will continue building and optimising the PANCAIM repository by integrating multimodal data from genomics and medical imaging (radiology and pathology) as well as selected clinical parameters. The PANCAIM repository infrastructure set up as well as the legal framework and setup for data sharing between the consortium members is close to being finalised, and the collection and curation of partner data is in progress. Soon, the focus will shift towards data curation and collaborative data annotation work.

Partners have also taken first steps to develop models and predictions to better predict survival outcomes and improve pancreatic cancer treatment through artificial intelligence. This includes the definition of relevant quantitative omics, radiomics and pathomics features, the identification of biomarkers, and pilot research projects to identify features associated with PDAC prognosis and prediction of treatment response.

The ultimate goal of the consortium is to develop multi-modal AI algorithms that facilitate multi-factorial patient stratification and better prognostication for therapy prediction and monitoring, thus improving outcomes for patients. Until the integration and validation of these multi-modal predictions of patient outcomes across independent clinical settings, it will still be a good while, but we are optimistic and happy that the project is moving in the right direction.

At the end of the meeting, the common dinner at a local restaurant allowed team members to celebrate 1.5 years of successful project implementation and get to know each other in a more informal setting, facilitating even better future cooperation. A big thank you to the entire PANCAIM team for their hard work over the past few days and to Radboud UMC for hosting us!