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Newsletter n. 1 - December 2014

Helping clinicians predict oral cavity cancer reoccurrence

The EU-funded OraMod project continues the research conducted by the finished FP7-NeoMark that produced a set of prognostic bio-markers and a genetic bio-signature significant for reoccurrence of oral cavity tumours, a disease more frequent and with a very high mortality rate.

 Oramod aims to provide a technology platform and a diagnostic device allowing the early identification of patients at highest risk of bad prognosis.
Project title: "VPH based predictive model for oral cancer reoccurrence in the clinical practice"
Project acronym: OraMod
Timetable: October 2013 – September 2016


The project engages 8 partner from 5 European countries:
  • three university hospitals (VU medical center in Amsterdam, Heinrich-Heine University Clinic in Dusseldorf and the University of Parma with the University Hospital);
  • two primary european research institutions (Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics IGD in Darmstad and the VTT Technology Center in Tampere);
  • three technology providers (VCI in Athens, OneToNet and STmicroelectronics in Milan).

At a glance

Cancer patients’ management involves critical decisions, regarding best treatment to avoid disease reoccurrence, to ensure the most favourable prognosis, to avoid over-treatment but at the same time also prevent under-treatment and, most of all, to preserve the quality of life for patients. OraMod starts from the need of researchers and clinicians in the field of oncology to improve the representation of biological processes related to growth, dissemination and reoccurrence of cancer, with the aim to predict disease prognosis and to provide effective and personalized care.
The systemic nature of cancer impacts all levels of human physiology, from molecular levels up to organs and the entire organism. Traditional data visualization technologies are not able to address this complexity and combine visual representations of the different levels of physiology into a unified vision of the disease. OraMod project has the ambition to:
  • implement visual representations of the bio-phisiology factors involved in oral cavity cancer;
  • realize a predictive model which is built on current knowledge as an incremental tool;
  • foster a collaborative case management through patient's data sharing.
OraMod innovative approach
The core of OraMod platform is the predictive model, which will be integrated into a web-based modular framework of tools, services and diagnostic devices supporting clinical decisions. They include a highly interactive Knowledge Assisted Visualization and Simulation environment for the "virtual" presentation of patients' data; a collaborative decision-making space to support the multi-disciplinary approach through the interaction of the different specialists; a sophisticated suite for image analysis and feature extraction for head and neck diagnostics; a portable RT-PCR device and a disposable personalized lab-on-chip for fast, precise, quantitative detection of the genomic markers included in the prediction model.
These tools will allow the collection and presentation of the multiscale data related to oral cancer patients, which will be used to build, by means of the OraMod model, a fingertprint of each patient's disease progression and to stratify each patient by risk of disease reoccurrence, lymph-nodes metastases and overall survival.
OraMod knowledge building

Achievement of the first years

The project has currently concluded the design phase: user needs and use cases have been defined, the clinical protocol approved by the Ethical Committees in the three involved hospitals (Head & Neck Department of Parma University Hospital, VUmc Medical Centre Amsterdam, Heinrich-Heine University hospital Dusseldorf) and in three associated clinics in Germany. Patients are being enrolled and data and biologic samples collected and analysed, along with diagnostic images. The technical development has progressed with the first release of the OraMod documentation system (i.e. the electronic health records), the genomic profile detection and evaluation algorithms. The user interfaces mock-ups are being validated by users and the data entry system is expected to be ready in the next months.
The Consortium has already started a survey of possible exploitation opportunities for the OraMod platform and for individual components (i.e. Image Analysis Tools, RT-PCR and lab-on-chip). Market analysis is ongoing, in parallel with the definition of a roadmap for products certification as medical devices and in-vitro-diagnostic devices.
More incisive actions to involve stakeholders and potential targets for market exploitations will be performed in the next months, with the support of the OraMod platform prototype and evidence-based data to demonstrate the added value and the impacts of OraMod for supporting clinical decisions on OSCC patients management. 

OraMod First Technical Review

On December 9th 2014, the Consortium presented the results of the first year of research to the European Commission in Brussels showing the documentation system, the preliminary genomic signature for OSCC reoccurrence, the upgraded lab-on-chip and the mock-ups of the Virtual Patient visualization tools. The result of the technical review was extremely positive: the project was recognised an extremely interesting innovative approach to a "transparent" predictive model and an extremely effective data presentation and virtual representation of the disease. Experts recognised the innovation in VPH approach in data fusion and data visualization and issued excellent comments.

Public presentations

The Consortium has started dissemination by addressing the medical and scientific community in specific events:

15-20 February 2014
SPIE Medical Imaging Conference in San Diego, California (USA)
Conference: Image Processing Conference 9034-53, Session 10
Title abstract: Personalized Articulated Atlas with a Dynamic Adaptation Strategy for Bone Segmentation in CT- or CT/MR- Head&Neck Images
Authors: Sebastian Steger, Florian Jung, Stefan Wesarg (Fraunhofer - Institut fur Graphische Datenverarbeitung - Germany).
23-26 September 2014
EACMFS Congress of the European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery in Prague, Czech Republic
Title abstract: Risk stratification and prediction of locoregional recurrence in OSCC: the OraMark project up-dates and refines the Neomark project results
Authors: Poli T., Lanfranco D., Silini EM., Azzoni C., Bottarelli L., Perris R., Bertani N., Rossi S., Sesenna E. (University Hospital of Parma - Italy).

3-5 November 2014
Mobihealth 2014 - 4th International Conference on Wireless Mobile Communication and Healthcare - "Transforming healthcare through innovations in mobile and wireless technologies" in Athens, Greece
Presentation: G. Aristomenopoulos (VCI Anonymos Etaireia Kainotomon Lyseon Pliroforikis  - Greece)  attended the conference disseminating the Oramod idea and visions.



Project Coordinator: Prof. Tito Poli
Università degli Studi di Parma
Department of Biomedical, Biotechnology and Translational Sciences
Via Gramsci, 14 - 43100 Parma - Italy
Phone: +39 0521 703109


OraMod project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 611425