DIFUTURE Consortium: Data Integration for Future Medicine
Logo DIFUTURE

Cross-institutional data integration and sharing will be vital to tomorrow’s medicine. DIFUTURE aims to provide medical professionals and researchers with data of comprehensive depth and breadth – to improve healthcare processes, accelerate innovation, and achieve tangible benefits for patients.

DIFUTURE comprises three German Universities of Excellence and their affiliated hospitals, plus additional clinical partners. The result is a unique synthesis of knowledge from the fields of medicine, informatics, biostatistics and bioinformatics. The consortium’s international connections are a further strength.

The DIFUTURE consortium is funded by BMBF during the development and networking phase since January 2018.

Development and networking phase

Data integration centres

DIFUTURE data integration centres are modular, extensible, and standards-based. Specifically, data integration encompasses the harmonisation of data and processes, with a focus on ensuring high data quality. In order to guarantee interoperability, DIFUTURE deploys commercially available components with open source software. Privacy and protection play a central role, e.g. via security by design, data minimisation, and layered data security. DIFUTURE’s analyses and studies will employ distributed approaches – and will therefore prioritise method transfer rather than data transfer.

Use Cases

Use case 1: multiple sclerosis (MS)

The consortium’s doctors and scientists are active in MS research, in basic research, and in national and international groups. Data have already been integrated to enable distributed analyses. A key focus is the identification of markers and algorithms to predict the course of the disease, and allow targeted, personalised treatment from an early stage. The spectrum of integrated data is broad, ranging from clinical and laboratory data on multi-dimensional images to genetic information. It is possible to make use of extensive, largely standardised data collections.

Use case 2: Parkinson’s disease (PD)

DIFUTURE’s use cases are designed for broad applicability. For example, the integration and analysis methods employed for the MS use case can be transferred to the work on Parkinson’s disease. The latter project, too, will entail the harmonisation, quality assurance and integration of diverse types of data. These data can be used for analyses within and beyond the consortium. All DIFUTURE use cases – including for rare illnesses, cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease – are aimed at enabling precision medicine. The goal is to significantly improve treatment, (early) diagnoses, prevention and aftercare.

Data use and access concept

Data use is based on Germany-wide agreements for the Medical Informatics Initiative, and on in-depth preliminary work at national and international levels. DIFUTURE will follow the principles of the GO-FAIR initiative – i.e. data findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability. Patient trust, free choice, and personal data sovereignty are central elements. To guarantee very high standards of data protection, the consortium deploys innovative methods, such as distributed computing and machine learning, plus systematic risk analyses.

Measures to strengthen medical informatics in Germany

DIFUTURE is establishing new professorships (see below) and curricula.

  • Embedded intelligence for healthcare and well-being (appointment grade: W3)
  • Bioinformatics/data mining/data analytics (W3)
  • IT Infrastructures for translational medical research (W2)
  • Medical knowledge management and clinical decision support (W3)
  • Mathematical modelling and simulation of biological processes (W3)
  • IT systems in healthcare, eHealth and mHealth (W3)
  • Diagnostic sensors (W3)
  • Visualisation of medical data (W3)
  • Visual analytics of big data in the life sciences (W1)
  • Methods in medical informatics (W3)
  • Applied medical informatics (W3)
  • Intelligent knowledge extraction in medicine (W3)
Konsortialführer
Leiter
Prof. Dr. M. Boeker
Telefon
+49 894 1404 320
Laufzeit
2018 - 2022
Konsortialpartner
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mansmann
Telefon
+49 894 4007 4491
Laufzeit
2018 - 2022
Leiter
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oliver Kohlbacher
Telefon
+49 707 1297 0458
Laufzeit
2018 - 2022
Leiter
Prof. Dr. F. Kramer
Telefon
+49 821 5982 118
Laufzeit
2018 - 2022
Leiter
PD Dr. Christian Stephan
Telefon
+49 234 5888 210
Laufzeit
2018 - 2022
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Hans Kestler
Telefon
+49 731 50-24500
Laufzeit
2019-2022
Vernetzungspartner
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Stefan Wagenpfeil
Telefon
+49 684 1160 / +49 684 1162 2060
Laufzeit
2018 - 2022
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Dirk Hellwig
Laufzeit
2018 - 2022
Assoziierte Partner
Leiter
Luiz Olava Bonino da Silva Santos, CTO FAIR Data
Telefon
+31 853 0307 11
Leiter
Dr. med. Wolfgang Krombholz
Telefon
+49 895 7093 0
Leiter
Bradley Malin, Ph.D.
Telefon
+1 615 3439 096
Leiter
Shawn N. Murphy, MD, Ph.D.
Conceptual phase

During the conceptual phase, DIFUTURE harnessed the expertise of four partners – Technical University of Munich, Ludwig Maximillian University Munich, Eberhard Karl University Tübingen, and University of Augsburg – to improve the use and exchange of data from healthcare and clinical/biomedical research across multiple institutions, and to verify value added.  

To this end, it was vital to develop corresponding organisational and technological solutions. DIFUTURE created concepts for data integration centres (DICs) and for use cases that would demonstrate the tangible value of data exchange. In preparation for the conceptual phase, the consortium defined eight use cases. Disease-focused cases included neurology, cancer and cardiology. A neurology use case will be audited. Furthermore, DIFUTURE will strive to generate synergy across the chosen fields.

The conceptual phase culminated in a funding application for the initiative’s development and networking phase. DIFUTURE submitted detailed plans for further evolving the consortium partners’ relevant infrastructures. This included technological and organisational measures, and actions to strengthen medical informatics.

Konsortialführer
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Klaus Kuhn
Telefon
+49 894 1404 320
FKZ
01ZZ1603A
Betrag
152.093 EUR
Laufzeit
01.08.2016 - 30.04.2017
Konsortialpartner
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Mansmann
Telefon
+49 897 0954 491
FKZ
01ZZ1603B
Betrag
89.454 EUR
Laufzeit
01.08.2016 - 30.04.2017
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Bauer
Telefon
+49 821 5982 118
FKZ
01ZZ1603C
Betrag
28.199 EUR
Laufzeit
01.08.2016 - 30.04.2017
Leiter
Prof. Dr. Oliver Kohlbacher
Telefon
+49 707 1297 0457
FKZ
01ZZ1603D
Betrag
89.996 EUR
Laufzeit
01.08.2016 - 30.04.2017