ICCD 2020 News Release: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data


International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (ICCD2020): 

‘Artificial Intelligence and Big Data: Towards the next frontier in paediatric cancer research & innovation in Europe’


Too many children and adolescents still die of cancer than from any other disease in Europe - over 6,000 young lives are lost each year - and too many of the nearly 500,000 survivors are affected by long-term adverse effects in adulthood.


On 18 February 2020, the 10th edition of the International Childhood Cancer Awareness Day (ICCD2020) took place at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Patrizia Toia (IT, S&D) in collaboration SIOP Europe (www.siope.eu), CCI-Europe (www.ccieurope.eu) and PanCare (www.pancare.eu), to explore the urgent need for life-saving innovation across the paediatric cancer pathway by means of AI and big data.


Together with the EU Beating Cancer Plan and Mission Area, a coordinated European approach on Artificial Intelligence is an integral part of the EU strategic vision for the policy term 2019-2024.


The ICCD2020 made a powerful point that Europe’s youngest citizens affected by cancer - our children, our future - are not left behind and on the contrary can make their voices be heard, fully partake, and benefit from these technological and policy initiatives. The messages from professionals and parents were loud and clear:


  • Artificial Intelligence can be a powerful game changer to gain new insights in paediatric cancer genesis, allowing better treatments and better cures.
    One example pioneering AI in this field is the EU Primage Project (www.primageproject.eu) under the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.  
  • Big data should be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable if it is to benefit progress in childhood cancers
  • There are huge opportunities to translate AI and big data into clinical practice but there is a long way to go, not least where sustainable funding of cross-border research is concerned
  • Parents, patients, and survivors want to share data to advance potentially life-saving research with these novel technologies, gather information to underpin long-term follow up care delivery, and understand the causes of childhood cancer
  • European eHealth readiness is fundamental for improved interoperable cross-border health care and research, which is required for paediatric cancer as a collection of rare diseases.  The European Reference Network for Paediatric Oncology (paedcan.ern-net.eu) provides an ideal setting to foster application of eHealth solutions in childhood cancers.  
  • Horizon Europe, the Cancer Mission, the EU Beating Cancer Plan and the recently launched EU AI Strategy offer great promise to leapfrog to unprecedented levels of patient outcomes.

The European paediatric cancer community looks forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that novel technologies can be fully applied for the benefit of children and adolescents with cancer, survivors, and their families.




ICCD2020 event webpage (including presentations and photos), click here.




The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe) is the leading organisation in Europe working to ensure a brighter future to children and adolescents with cancer. Representing more than 1,835 professional members across 35 European countries and working in close cooperation with parents, patients and survivors, SIOPE addresses the main challenges faced by the paediatric haemato-oncology community in Europe through a multidisciplinary perspective. Its mission for the next decade is to increase the cure rate and the quality of lives of children and adolescents with cancer as well as survivors across Europe.

CCI Europe represents childhood cancer parents’ and survivors’ groups as well as other childhood cancer organisations in Europe: 67 organisations in 33 European countries are members of CCI. CCI Europe works together with all relevant stakeholders for the same aim, namely, to help children and adolescents with cancer to be cured, with no - or as few as possible - long term health problems/late effects.

PanCare is a multidisciplinary pan‐European network of professionals, survivors and their families that aims to reduce the frequency, severity and impact of late side‐effects of the treatment of children and adolescents with cancer. Together with the paediatric oncology community PanCare is working to achieve equity of access to care for childhood cancer survivors across Europe, to perform collaborative research, to develop evidence based surveillance guidelines together with the International Guideline Harmonisation Group and to act as a resource of research-based information concerning all late side‐effects of cancer treatment.