Central repository for digital pathology


Many diseases are still diagnosed, monitored and studied in part on the basis of biological samples that have been mounted on a glass slide and studied under a microscope. Today, that analysis is still carried out by a human pathologist, but what if the slides could be scanned and analysed using artificial intelligence (AI)? And what if they could be placed in a repository and made available to the scientific community? These are the questions the BIGPICTURE project hopes to answer.

The project aims to create a repository of digital copies of around 3 million slides covering a range of disease areas. This repository will then be used to develop artificial intelligence tools that could aid in the analysis of slides.

To achieve its goal, the project will first create the infrastructure needed to store, share and process millions of (often heavy) image files. Secondly, they will address legal and ethical issues to ensure patient privacy and data confidentiality issues are fully respected.

In total, the project plans to populate the repository with 3 million digital slides from humans as well as laboratory animals. along with all the information associated with them. These will provide the project with the data needed to develop AI pathology tools. Finally, the project aims to develop functionalities to facilitate the use of the database as well as the processing of images for diagnostic and research purposes.

In the long term, the project will develop sustainability plans to maintain and continue to develop the platform beyond the end of the IMI project.

This project is supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry.

Achievements & News


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EFPIA companies
  • Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, Leverkusen, Germany
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Internationalgmbh, Ingelheim, Germany
  • F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Institut De Recherches Internationales Servier Iris, Suresnes, France
  • Janssen Pharmaceutica Nv, Beerse, Belgium
  • Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Novo Nordisk A/S, Bagsvaerd, Denmark
  • Pfizer Limited, Sandwich, Kent , United Kingdom
  • Sanofi-Aventis Recherche & Developpement, Chilly Mazarin, France
  • UCB Biopharma, Brussels, Belgium
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Biobanks And Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure Consortium (Bbmri-Eric), Graz, Austria
  • Digital Pathology Association Inc, Carmel, United States
  • European Society Of Pathology, Brussels, Belgium
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., München, Germany
  • Haute Ecole Specialisee De Suisse Occidentale, Delemont, Switzerland
  • Hus-Yhtyma, Helsinki, Finland
  • Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
  • Linkopings Universitet, Linkoping, Sweden
  • Medizinische Universitaet Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • Medizinische Universitat Graz, Graz, Austria
  • Philipps Universitaet Marburg, Marburg, Germany
  • Region Ostergotland, Linkoping, Sweden
  • Semmelweis Egyetem, Budapest, Hungary
  • Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut-Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Stichting Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Muenchen, Germany
  • Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • The European Institute For Innovation Through Health Data, Gent, Belgium
  • The Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Trust, Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Universite De Liege, Liège, Belgium
  • University Of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom
  • Uppsala Universitet, Uppsala, Sweden
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Csc-Tieteen Tietotekniikan Keskus Oy, Espoo, Finland
  • Cytomine Corporation SA, Liege, Belgium
  • Deciphex Limited, Mornington Meath, Ireland
  • Din Deutsches Institut Fuer Normung Ev, Berlin, Germany
  • Gbg Forschungs GMBH, Neu-Isenburg, Germany
  • Owkin France, Paris, France
  • Phit BV, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Sectra AB, Linköping, Sweden
  • Stichting Lygature, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Timelex, Brussel, Belgium
  • Ttopstart BV, Bilthoven, Netherlands
Third parties
  • Diagnexia Uk Limited, London, United Kingdom
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Umea Universitet, Umea, Sweden
  • Universita' Degli Studi Di Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy
  • University of Turku, Turku, Finland

NameEU funding in €
Azienda Ospedaliera Per L Emergenza Cannizzaro (left the project)2 153
Biobanks And Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure Consortium (Bbmri-Eric)209 000
Csc-Tieteen Tietotekniikan Keskus Oy4 003 125
Cytomine Corporation SA518 750
Deciphex Limited2 318 750
Digital Pathology Association Inc12 000
Din Deutsches Institut Fuer Normung Ev98 413
European Society Of Pathology60 000
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.240 006
Gbg Forschungs GMBH72 000
Haute Ecole Specialisee De Suisse Occidentale300 000
Hus-Yhtyma900 000
Institut Pasteur378 125
Linkopings Universitet2 163 750
Medizinische Universitaet Wien619 430
Medizinische Universitat Graz232 000
Owkin France400 000
Philipps Universitaet Marburg600 000
Phit BV270 000
Region Ostergotland600 000
Sectra AB196 875
Semmelweis Egyetem72 000
Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut-Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis200 000
Stichting Lygature1 724 000
Stichting Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum8 614 691
Technische Universitaet Muenchen312 000
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven240 000
The European Institute For Innovation Through Health Data60 000
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Trust950 150
Timelex240 000
Ttopstart BV160 000
Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht600 000
Universite De Liege1 625 375
University Of Warwick399 983
Uppsala Universitet2 325 000
Third parties
NameFunding in €
Diagnexia Uk Limited131 250
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven57 000
Umea Universitet300 000
Universita' Degli Studi Di Milano-Bicocca57 000
University of Turku57 000
Total Cost32 319 826