Technology solution - Platforms

The VPH-DARE@IT research platform will integrate the efforts of the rest of project partners and other open source tools already available that focus on dementia research, providing a single framework where new generation workflows will be created focusing on multiscale patient specific treatment for dementia. The specific objectives of this work are to:

  • Develop a workflow-oriented and extensible framework for clinical researchers in dementia;
  • Develop a workflow-oriented and extensible framework for VPH modelling researchers in dementia;
  • Define interoperability mechanisms for leveraging functionality from other open source frameworks in dementia research;
  • Define and implement integrative pipelines for data processing in VPH-DARE@IT;
  • Support the interaction and integration of such frameworks with the VPH-Share data sharing infrastructure;
  • Support data-provision centres in VPH-DARE@IT to federate their databases through the VPH-Share infrastructure.

A widely accepted software decision-support tool for diagnostics of dementias is not yet available. There is a clear need for a tool that is able to integrate heterogeneous information measured from patients and provide a risk score for each patient. The lack of such tools has been identified as a major challenge with high impact. This project develops a software tool that can be used for supporting early differential diagnostics of dementias. In order to enter clinical practice, the tool must be simple to use and provide information that is relevant for making diagnostics decisions. In short, clinical user requirements are central to the tool’s design and implementation.

The project will provide a research platform to generate information (e.g. biomarkers & measures) relevant for diagnostics or monitoring of disease progression. On the other hand, the clinical decision-support tool can generate information that is relevant for disease modelling purposes. Therefore seamless connectivity of the research and clinical platforms must be guaranteed.

Considering the effectiveness of various treatments (medication & psychosocial care), they should be started as early as possible. If patients first enter the hospital when their memory is already severely affected, it tends to be too late for starting some of the treatments. Therefore, cost-efficient approaches for detecting high-risk patients and channelling them to detailed diagnostics studies at an early phase are welcome. In addition to expensive governmental dementia screening programs, citizens should be empowered to screen their own health and risk for certain diseases. This project will also demonstrate the use of a portal designed for citizens to evaluate their risk for dementias and ways to integrate this portal to the research and clinical platforms. The clinical decision-support tool will be an extended version of the PredictAD tool developed in the previous VPH project. Novel features will be implemented into the tool, such as tools for differential diagnostics. The portal for citizens will be based on previous work done at VTT and UEF.

Clinical and Research Platforms

The VPH-DARE@IT will define a clinical platform for personalised diagnosis of dementia and the assessment of treatment efficacy based on:

  • Methods for representing risk scores
  • Platform for treatment assessment
  • Platform for population screening and awareness in dementia
  • Quantification and characterisation of lifestyle and environmental factors

The VPH-DARE@IT research platform will integrate existing tools that focus on dementia research, providing a single framework where new generation workflows will be created focusing on multi-scale patient specific treatment for dementia.

By means of this platform novel modelling strategies will be developed and disseminated to unravel the brain ageing processes and progression of dementia through high-throughput analysis of clinical, biological and environmental data.