UTDesignLabNewsLarge project to improve the treatment of women with DCIS

Large project to improve the treatment of women with DCIS

Researchers from the University of Twente (BMS, TechMed, DesignLab) play a crucial role in a new project (9 million euros for 8 years) that will investigate an innovative approach to the early stages of breast cancer. The Direct-DCIS project brings together a large consortium led by the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI).

1 in 7 women in the Netherlands develops breast cancer. By detecting the early signs as soon as possible, many lives and medical costs can be saved. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) can be a precursor to breast cancer. In the Netherlands, 2,300 women are diagnosed with DCIS annually. While DCIS can develop into breast cancer, it never does in most cases. Because harmless and harmful DCIS cannot yet be distinguished, all women receive intensive treatment, such as surgery or radiation. Many women, therefore, bear the burden of over-treatment without any benefit. To reduce this, highly innovative, integrative artificial intelligence will be developed, inspired by how weather predictions improve over time. The hope is that this dynamic DCIS risk prognosis will prevent unnecessary treatment of women with harmless DCIS, preserving their quality of life and saving society 15 million euros per year in healthcare costs.

Citizen Science

The University of Twente will focus on citizen science. Throughout the eight-year project, a group of women with DCIS will be involved in the research. Their knowledge and experience will help improve the research. At DesignLab, Maya van den Berg will provide support and training for this group. Under the guidance of Ria Wolkorte and Sabine Siesling (BMS, HTSR, TechMed), a PhD student will investigate how patient researchers can be involved in a project for an extended period. The collaboration will explore how to provide added value to the project, patient researchers, and UT researchers. The UT collaborates with NIVEL and the Dutch Breast Cancer Association for this purpose.

Integral Cancer Center

Sabine Siesling, in addition to being a professor at the UT, is also affiliated with the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL). In that role, Sabine ensures that data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry of women with DCIS are used to develop the artificial intelligence tool. This includes examining the current state of care, such as how often surgeries are performed, and how that will change with the ability to identify which precursors more specifically may progress and which may not. These data also support cost and economic analyses and studies on the quality of life from the UMBRELLA cohort (UMCU: https://www.umcutrecht.nl/nl/wetenschappelijk-onderzoek/umbrella).

More information

Direct-DCIS brings together a large consortium led by the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI). The project team includes various university medical centers and companies. The lead for the consortium is Prof. J. Wesseling (Netherlands Cancer Institute). The consortium further includes the Netherlands Cancer Institute, NWO Institutes Organization, Radboud University Medical Center, Leiden University Medical Center, University Medical Center Utrecht, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Twente, Delft University of Technology, NIVEL - Dutch Institute for Health Services Research, Department of Research, Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL), Dear Health, IQVIA, Screenpoint Medical, BOOG - Breast Cancer Research Group, Dutch Breast Cancer Association, RIVM – Population Screening Center, PALGA Foundation, Integral Cancer Center Netherlands. Direct-DCIS is funded by the NWA and has a project budget of 9.4 million euros. The project started on February 15th, 2024 and the official kick-off is planned on April 15th, 2024. Women with DCIS (current or past) interested in this project can contact Maya van den Berg (m.m.vandenberg@utwente.nl).