April 1, 2013 marked the official start of the CHIC project: “Computational Horizons in Cancer: Developing Meta- and Hyper-Multiscale Models and Repositories for In-Silico Oncology”. CHIC is a large scale, transatlantic research project which is funded under the EU FP7 framework programme.
CHIC proposes the development of a suite of tools, services and secure infrastructure that will support accessibility and reusability of VPH mathematical and computational hypermodels. Cancer hypermodels to be collaboratively developed by the consortium cancer modellers will provide the framework and the tested for the development of the CHIC technologies.
Developing robust, reproducible, interoperable and collaborative hyper-models of diseases and normal physiology is a sine qua non necessity if rational, coherent and comprehensive exploitation of the invaluable information hidden within human multiscale biological data is envisaged.
Responding to this imperative in the context of both the broad Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) initiative and the paradigmatic cancer domain, the transatlantic project CHIC proposes the development of a suite of tools, services and secure infrastructure that will support accessibility and reusability of VPH mathematical and computational hypermodels. These will include a hypermodelling infrastructure consisting primarily of a hypermodelling editor and a hypermodelling execution environment, an infrastructure for semantic metadata management, a hypermodel repository, a hypermodel-driven clinical data repository, a distributed metadata repository and an in silico trial repository for the storage of executed simulation scenarios. Multiscale models and data will be semantically annotated using the ontological and annotating tools to be developed. An image processing and visualization toolkit as well as cloud and virtualization services will also be developed.
The CHIC tools, services, infrastructure and repositories will provide the community with a collaborative interface for exchanging knowledge and sharing work in an effective and standardized way. A number of open source features and tools will enhance usability and accessibility. In order to ensure clinical relevance and foster clinical acceptance of hypermodelling in the future, the whole endeavour will be driven by the clinical partners of the consortium. Cancer hypermodels to be collaboratively developed by the consortium cancer modellers will provide the framework and the testbed for the development of the CHIC technologies. Clinical adaptation and partial clinical validation of hypermodels and hypermodel oncosimulators will be undertaken. Experimentation in silico is expected to serve as both a patient individualized treatment optimizer by using the patient’s own multiscale data and a fundamental science based suggestion generator in designing the branches of new prospective clinical trials.