A privacy preserving ecosystem for cancer research

HEalth ReseArch - Cancer Living labs - setting up an Ecosystem of trust (Secure and Sovereign)

The HERACLES project aims to reduce the cancer impact by creating a sustainable data learning system. This innovative infrastructure (rapid learning) for combining multiple fragmented data sources, is crucial to enrich and complete the insights in the health journey of people at risk for or suffering from cancer. This will benefit the growing population with an often high and long-term disease burden and give them a perspective of improved survival, health and participation according to KIA and mission III. This project refers to a part of the health journey (diagnosis, treatment) as a first important step.

The challenge is to address the compartmentalised nature of healthcare systems while protecting privacy to create knowledge on people’s complete health journey. This problem can be resolved with a sustainable future-proof decentralised infrastructure to analyse and access health data from multiple sources in a privacy-by-design way. 

This project proposes an effective and sustainable Health Data Space that will allow data analysis cross-organisations in peoples’ health journey without compromising privacy. While some needed components for such a Health Data Space (e.g. additive homomorphic encryption) are already usable in practice with a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL), the total system which makes Multi-Party Computation (MPC) easy to use / easy to adopt by healthcare organisations is at an early stage TRL 3.

Within this project, a health data space will incorporate these technical innovations and bring it to TRL 6: the technology has been demonstrated to work in a relevant environment, within the use cases. Besides the conditional technical innovation and data service governance and business model including legal and ethical conditions will be addressed.

Project main objectives:

1.              To create technology and governance for a sustainable data infrastructure that enables stakeholders to request data insights by privacy-preserving analyses of the participating data sources;

2.              To use this technical infrastructure via pilot experiments to gain new shared insights into the health journey of people with cancer (ovarian, lung), which will enable health decisions, prevention and effective, personalised treatment and support plans, and in addition bring care and research closer together.


To create new insights in peoples’ health journeys by combining real world data from different organisations and sources. And a unified approach that can utilise the power of artificial intelligence for improving diagnostic, optimise care processes, improve interaction within the value chain of health.
Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
4 - 6
Time period
30 months
Radboud umc