Cancer Virtual Lab

An open-source platform for cancer research
Thematic area: Health, Projects
Financing: IFAB call for projects
Enabling Technology: Artificial Intelligence, HL7 FHIR standard model, Knowledge Graph

The Cancer Lab project aims to introduce artificial intelligence into cancer research, offering researchers and doctors advanced tools for a deeper understanding of cancer. By building a platform that analyses anonymised data from cancer patients, researchers will have a tool at their disposal that, while guaranteeing privacy and thanks to the application of AI and Machine Learning algorithms, will enable them to derive new information thanks to the ability to semantically interpret the available data and scientific evidence, accelerating the review of scientific literature and opening up new avenues towards the medicine of the future.


  • Provide researchers with a platform that integrates clinical information and literature evidence
  • Facilitate the application of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence techniques to search for correlations
  • Facilitate rapid access to the latest research and developments in the field of oncology
  • Support enhanced data understanding through the use of Knowledge Graphs and standardised clinical data representation models

The initial challenge

Oncology research is confronted with the complexity of cancer-related data, which are often inhomogeneous and scattered among different sources. Electronic health records (EHRs) contain a great deal of information that is crucial for the progress of therapies, but access to this data today is not easy for both technical and privacy reasons. There is therefore a growing need to integrate these data efficiently in order to accelerate research and the process of discovering new treatments. The Cancer Virtual Lab was created to respond to this challenge within IRST, the Istituto Romagnolo per lo Studio dei Tumori ‘Dino Amadori’ (also Irccs for ‘Advanced Therapies in Medical Oncology’), a centre of excellence entirely dedicated to treatment, research and training in the field of oncology, specialising in the development of alternative therapies through translational research, which is accessed by more than 27,000 patients every year.

The solution

Through the use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, the platform aims to create anonymised avatars of patients, combining clinical data from the treatment pathway and knowledge derived from the scientific literature, which can be analysed by researchers with a tool that simplifies their daily tasks.

The project thus intends to develop an MVP/Prototype with a versatile and integrated interface, which facilitates the overall analysis of cancer-related information, enhancing research that can be based on the analysis of connected and semantically represented data, thus finding in this a great acceleration and overcoming certain biases.
Finally, the project has the ambition to become an operational platform with continuous improvement of its functionalities.


The Cancer Virtual Lab project provides secure and simplified access to data by attempting to apply strategies and techniques to overcome the obstacles that researchers normally encounter when trying to use the data that is collected for both primary research purposes and secondary use.

In this way, researchers will have the opportunity to reduce analysis time and will be able to use a tool that will help them advance the creative process of scientific research.



For further information, please contact:

Sustainable Development Goals


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