EU, Canada award €8.4m. to Israeli-led health data project

The project received €7.85 million ($9m.) from the EU through its Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, of which Israel is a member, and a further €800,000 ($917,000) from the Canadian gov't.

January 14, 2019 21:03
1 minute read.
Cancer Research

A scientist prepares protein samples for analysis in a lab at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, Britain, July 15, 2013. (photo credit: STEFAN WERMUTH/REUTERS)


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The European Union and the Canadian government have awarded €8.4 million ($9.6m.) to the Israeli-led international iReceptor Plus project to improve genomic and health-data sharing, the consortium behind the initiative announced on Monday.

Led by Bar-Ilan University, the iReceptor Plus consortium is composed of more than 20 partners from nine countries and promotes human immunological data storage, integration and controlled sharing for a range of clinical and scientific purposes.

The four-year project aims to develop a platform to integrate distributed repositories of adaptive immune receptor repertoire sequencing (AIRR-seq) data to enable improved personalized medicine and immunotherapy in cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, allergies and infectious diseases.

“The project will make data more standardized and accessible... Until now each lab and each company has built their own, usually private, sequencing datasets,” iReceptor Plus coordinator and Bar-Ilan University Associate Prof. Gur Yaari told The Jerusalem Post.

“Through our system, we will enable them to have the same standards and equal access to the data. And then, each institute and company can decide alone which data they want to share and with whom. You can then conduct large-scale studies with meta-analysis, studies featuring many different groups and combine all this data together.”

The project received €7.85 million ($9m.) from the EU through its Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, of which Israel is a member, and a further €800,000 ($917,000) from the Canadian government.

“We will offer a totally new class of biomarkers to support novel treatments,” Yaari added. “The ability to share and compare AIRR-seq data will also promote the discovery of biomedical interventions that manipulate the adaptive immune system such as vaccines and other immunotherapies.”

In addition to Bar-Ilan University, Israeli participants in the project include the University of Haifa, the Rabin Medical Center, the data-storage company Infinidat and the project-management firm Interteam. Representatives from partner institutions, including research institutions and clinical entities from Europe and North America, gathered Monday in Eilat to initiate the project.

Through its many academic, clinical and industrial partners, iReceptor Plus network databases will be established at several international sites to demonstrate the project’s effectiveness in clinical and biopharma-use cases.

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