Oncological collaboration in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion
Four clinics in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion will collaborate in the field of oncology with OncoCare. Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) de Liège, Maastricht UMC+, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen and the Jessa Ziekenhuis in Hasselt have signed an agreement to jointly establish this project, which will be subsidised by a €5 million grant from the EU. The collaboration is aimed at innovative patient-focussed cancer care. The project will start on 4 April with a kick-off meeting in Liège.
The main objective of OncoCare is to improve care for cancer patients in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion, and to stimulate collaboration into innovative research between the four partners. That will happen on the basis of a number of concrete projects, one of which is teleconsulting. This technical feature allows doctors from various clinics to quickly and easily discuss the optimal treatment of the individual patient. Furthermore, differences in care paths will be eliminated as much as possible, and knowledge and skills can be divided in the best way. The objective is also to secure care for patients with rare tumours in the region.
Treatment at home
In addition, home hospitalisation is a subproject of the programme, with parts such as home rehabilitation, earlier discharge from hospital for treatment of infections at home, and the home administration of chemotherapy. That last part already happens in Liège, but in the other OncoCare clinics it is still the rule that patients be admitted to hospital for chemotherapy. Software will also be developed to allow patients to quickly and easily track and document their own status.
Finally, the four partners will also seek collaboration in the field of research. OncoCare should offer a platform for clinical research, especially into rare forms of cancer. This will include a system for (anonymised) data exchange, for example, in the field of stem cell transplantation and liver/pancreatic cancer. Special attention will be paid to rare forms of cancer and rare subtypes of more common tumours.
OncoCare will receive a €5 million EU grant from the Interreg fund for cross-border projects. The secretariat of the project is the oncology centre at the CHU university clinic in Liège. Maastricht UMC+ will guarantee the streamlining of care pathways in the field of liver and pancreatic cancer. Medical innovative centre Scinnamic from the University of Liège will facilitate the collaboration process, ensuring coordination, administration and so forth. The possibility of expanding the project with other partners in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion will be considered.