In a Q&A with Delano, Frank Glod of FNR and Markus Ollert of LIH joined forces to explain the project’s origins and ambitions.
Margaret Ferns: What exactly is the Clinnova project?
Clinnova is an EU-funded project within the Teaming instrument of the EU Horizon 2020 programme. The funding aims to support Luxembourg in the development of a business plan to establish a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in digital health and personalised medicine.
The CoE will establish a secure Luxembourgish research data-sharing platform that links clinical study data, data from registries, eHR (DSP) data (in collaboration with the national eHealth agency), and mobile health data, both within Luxembourg and also with partners abroad. Such a comprehensive integration of datasets on a national level constitutes a unique opportunity for Luxembourg and is something that has not been achieved to this level anywhere else in the world.
MF: What stage of development is it at?
We are in the advanced planning phase of the project and are in the process of preparing the business plan, as well as the proposal for phase 2 funding for the project, which is due for submission in November 2018. Phase 2 will be the real implementation phase of the project and we are currently developing the research programme. In addition, we will still have to involve patient associations and medical doctors to better define the clinical needs.
MF: What does this project hope to achieve?
The aim of the Clinnova project is to bring the patient and their data to the centre of healthcare, thus empowering individuals to control their health. This will be achieved by leveraging novel eHealth approaches and by making integrated and complete medical data from different sources available to researchers and doctors in a secure way, which will enable cutting-edge clinical research and therefore improve clinical care in the long term. Clinnova will be innovative and integrative within Luxembourg and Europe, fostering new and strengthening existing links between technological innovation and clinical care, in order to build a sustained and prosperous ecosystem for economic growth in Luxembourg and in Europe.
MF: How will it improve healthcare for patients & practitioners?
The Clinnova project will improve healthcare for patients and practitioners in a number of ways. Analyses of integrated medical patient data will provide healthcare practitioners with unprecedented possibilities to fine-tune diagnoses and tailor treatments to the needs of individuals, making precise, personalised medicine a reality for patients. As a prerequisite, state-of-the art data security will be implemented at each step to ensure and safeguard patient privacy. The use of eHealth will not only allow healthcare practitioners to monitor patients remotely and over long periods of time, but equally it will empower patients to play the central role in the control of their health by adopting preventive strategies and taking part in decision-making. Furthermore, the Clinnova project will help train and prepare healthcare practitioners for this paradigm shift in medicine.
MF: Is Luxembourg a good location for carrying out this type of project? Why?
Luxembourg is a good location to carry out the Clinnova project for several reasons. The country is constantly growing an international reputation for biomedical and ICT research, which Clinnova will build upon. The recently established National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s Disease (NCER-PD) here in Luxembourg is a good example to demonstrate that medical professionals are open to research and novel research findings. Clinnova will learn from the experiences in the implementation of NCER-PD and will enable and increase clinical research in Luxembourg.
In addition, the environment in Luxembourg is ideal to test novel medical procedures, can provide high data connectivity and capacity for data storage. The High-Performance Computing Competence Centre that will be built in Luxembourg as part of the EuroHPC initiative will benefit the development of novel high performance/throughput computing tools that can be incorporated into eHealth sensors and capable of giving input into decision-making or informing the patient to take certain actions in real time. It is also important to note that the Clinnova initiative is in line with Digital Luxembourg and the Third Industrial Revolution (Rifkin Plan).