HARMONY: Big data for better and faster treatment


HARMONY Alliance: A European Network of Excellence for Big Data in Hematology - Enabling Better and Faster Treatment based on Big Data technologies

Despite data being a key driver for modern evidence-based medicine, we have been struggling with the same challenge for years: how can we have access to the scientific data that has been kept isolated and convert it into practical applications in order to make real progress in human sciences? The HARMONY Alliance is an innovative public-private European Network of Excellence, funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and established in January 2017. The mission of HARMONY is to unlock and spread valuable knowledge on hematologic malignancies (blood cancers) among a large number of stakeholders, with the goal to harness and mine Big Data to speed up the development of improved treatments for patients and more effective treatment strategies. The HARMONY Big Data Platform is a significant step towards breaking down these silos and exploiting the potential of Big Data to improve the treatments and quality of care for patients with hematologic malignancies.

From volume to value: 53 Partners and 32 Associated Members, totaling 80 public-private organizations from 22 European countries, are working together within the HARMONY Alliance, establishing a data platform to unlock knowledge about Hematologic Malignancies. Machine learning techniques and advanced algorithms will be used to transform the data into valuable evidence-based outcomes to improve patient care and their quality of life. To make progress in the study of hematology there is an urgent need to have access to a massive amount of high-quality, deep data. The HARMONY Big Data Platform is the key to enabling this: by collecting and engaging multiple individual data sources featuring high-quality data, we will allow the performance of meaningful analysis. This will result in the establishment of best practices and generate findings that will help address challenges such as improving the diagnostics and treatment of patients with blood cancer.

How will this benefit the patient? HARMONY is oriented toward 7 hematologic malignancies: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma and Pediatric Hematologic Malignancies.

Interoperable and complete data for reliable results: The HARMONY Big Data Platform hosts multiple types of data, including clinical data collected from symptom diagnoses, biochemistry and physical examinations, and other information gathered on treatment, survival, omics, quality of life, and resource utilization. To ensure that the descriptive, comparative, and predictive information generated by the analyses performed on the data platform is reliable, one of our priorities is to determine the quality of the data that will enter our Big Data Platform. Thus, before algorithms are used to mine the available data, the input information must be checked precisely, to ensure it is standardized, anonymized, complete, and correct.

Read more about the HARMONY Big Data Platform >> 

Responsible Data Processing: Data has the enormous potential to improve the health of patients around the world. Artificial intelligence systems analyze huge amounts of data, transforming it into valuable clinical knowledge and predictive models. To ensure that people trust technology, responsible privacy and security guidelines must be developed. The database of the HARMONY Big Data Platform include complex information on Hematologic Malignances, such as diagnostics, genomics, treatment choices, and outcomes, thus allowing for the processing and analysis of diverse data originally collected by hospitals, national study groups, clinical trials, and other groups. In this context, HARMONY ensures careful, judicious, and uncompromising adherence to ethical guidelines and the applicable Data Protection (DP) legislation, i.e. the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and local DP legislation.

Read how HARMONY Alliance has organized data security and safety and how ethical and legislative principles were implemented >> 

What has HARMONY achieved so far since the start in 2017?

  • Alignment with the latest European regulations on data privacy
  • Implementation of compliance with ethical rules and legislative frameworks across all countries and stakeholders in Europe
  • Establishment of a standard operating procedure for the submission of research questions
  • Creation and application of data sharing agreements
  • Streamlining of processes for data flow within Europe to enable the use of the HARMONY Big Data platform without jeopardizing data privacy and compliance with legal and ethical requirements
  • Launching the HARMONY Big Data Platform
  • Continuous population of the HARMONY Big Data Platform
  • Submission and approval of several Big Data-driven studies for the different blood cancers
  • Transfer of the first data sets into the HARMONY Big Data Platform
  • With these achievements, researchers are now in the starting blocks for intense analysis of the data in the HARMONY Big Data platform. 

How to become involved? Co-operative Working Groups, Hospitals, Academic Institutions and companies are invited to join the HARMONY Alliance as an Associated Member. Associated Members can help answering research questions in current projects and submit their own research proposals. Contact us >> 

HARMONY has received funding from IMI 2 Joint Undertaking and is listed under grant agreement No. 116026. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). IMI supports collaborative research projects and builds networks of industrial and academic experts in order to boost pharmaceutical innovation in Europe.

 Harmony image

Last Updated on Friday 22 March 2019.