VHIR coordinates TRUSTroke, a European artificial intelligence project aimed at optimising stroke treatment

The end result of the initiative will be a platform that will flag risk factors and predict potential patient complications


The Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) will coordinate the TRUSTroke project, an initiative funded by the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme to create an Artificial Intelligence platform to facilitate a personalised treatment for stroke patients. The system will be trained using data from medical records, both during admission and subsequent short-, medium- and long-term monitoring, and other information provided by patients and healthcare professionals via the Nora mobile app. Based on the information provided and its own learning, a reliable roadmap of the recovery process after an ischaemic stroke will be created. The aim is to flag risk factors and predict possible complications that may affect the convalescent patient. The whole process will be done within a reliable environment (TRUST) that guarantees the security of the patients' data.

Specifically, the platform will analyse all factors related to the pathology, the patient and their environment to determine their likelihood to: a complex clinical situation at discharge; a worsening of health resulting in unplanned admissions; severe and permanent sequelae that limit mobility or mean partial recovery; and stroke recurrence. The resulting information will provide reliable guidance for clinicians, patients and caregivers to help personalise treatment as much as possible and prevent risks and complications.

Dr. Carlos Molina, Principal Investigator and Coordinator of the TRUSTROKE project indicates that "once the platform is designed and trained, several tests will be carried out with the participation of patients to ensure its accessibility and usability". And he adds, "the last phase will be a clinical trial where several hospitals, including Vall d'Hebron, will ensure that the final product has the highest level of reliability and that it is ready for healthcare use".

An international and multidisciplinary partnership

The project 'Validation of a reliable prognostic tool based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict and improve the outcome of patients with ischaemic stroke' is the product of the collaboration of thirteen partners with very different profiles that will complement each other to ensure the success of the initiative. The artificial intelligence algorithms will be created and optimised by Eurecat,  technology center of Catalonia. The data will be supplied from the clinical side by three major European hospitals: Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic (Italy), and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), with a fourth hospital, the Univerza V Ljubljani (Slovakia), joining later in the validation phase. In these hospitals, Nora, a solution for patient monitoring, will be integrated, which will facilitate data collection and communication between professionals and patients. The Stroke Alliance For Europe (SAFE), the leading European network representing more than 30 stroke patient support organisations, is also involved in the patient side of the project.

CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, one of the world's largest and most respected scientific research centres, together with the Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI) and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerch (CNR) will be in charge of creating a federated and protected data network, guaranteeing that the data will always remain in the hospitals. The Josef Stefan Institute (JSI) has been chosen as Data Steward to certify its security and reliability. The final product will be designed by NACAR, which will take into account the patient experience to develop a user-friendly solution that integrates with Nora. Finally, Eatris will take care of the legal and ethical aspects of the project, ensuring its long-term viability, and VHIR, as the project's coordinating centre, will be responsible for the management, dissemination, and communication of the project's results.

The project kicked off at a meeting in May in Barcelona, where representatives of all the organisations involved met. The meeting served to establish the objectives of the first phase and to create the work plan for the next 12 months. In total, the project is expected to last 4 years and has a budget of €6,076,437.50.

The project is the product of the collaboration of thirteen partners with very different profiles that will complement each other to ensure the success of the initiative

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