STA, 4 February 2020 - The University of Maribor and its Medical Centre (UKC) have teamed up with partners from abroad to launch an EU-funded project to provide an AI-assisted post-treatment support to cancer patients.
The project Persist is the first such large European project at UKC Maribor and the first such cooperation between the centre and university.
"This is the first time that we've pooled the expertise that is abundant in Maribor in such a way," UKC Maribor director general Vojko Flis told reporters on Tuesday.
Technological solutions to build an innovative system to support doctors in post-cancer handling of patients are being developed by the Maribor Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
As part of a pilot project carried out by UKC Maribor and three other European hospitals, the Maribor hospital will monitor 40 patients cured of breast and colon cancer with the help of a smart watch.
The watch also will allow patients to communicate with psychologists and will record data on their state of health as well as their moods and how they feel through the way they communicate in text and pictures.
Based on the data collected, new models of health data analyses will be developed which will serve in further handling of patients after cancer treatment.
The partners will also develop a mass data platform that will bring together both components and combine them with digital recordings on patients used in hospitals.
Involving 13 institutions from ten countries, the project Persist will run until February 2023. Valued at over EUR 5 million, it is fully funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme.
EUR 700,000 of the sum is allocated to partners from Slovenia, including the Maribor Faculty of Arts, which provides support in the field of psychology.
Oncologists hope the project will allow them to better monitor their patients so as to help them better to rehabilitate.
"We can treat cancer. Once the patient ends treatment, they must be returned into society. I believe we can get important data there how to help on the path of that rehabilitation," said Maja Ravnik, the head of the UKC Maribor oncology department.
In Slovenia, cancer has become the leading cause of death in men and the second leading cause of death in women, show official data released on World Cancer Day.
As many as 15,072 people got newly diagnosed with cancer in 2016, which means a new cancer diagnosis every 35 minutes.