IIS La Fe and Matical Innovation, leads PRIMAGE


One of the biggest and more ambitious European research projects in medical imaging, artificial intelligence and childhood cancer, PRIMAGE, is led by MATICAL Innovation, together with La Fe Sanitary Research Institute.

The objective of the project is to know the most effective treatment and the main characteristics of tumors without having to biopsy. The project is financed with 10 million euros by European Commission, 16 European institutions are participating in the consortium and has an implementation duration of 4 years. Internationally recognized researches in in-silico technologies and clinical experts in pediatric cancer are part of the staff of PRIMAGE.


PRIMAGE project is devoted at developing methods of computational analysis of medical images applied to child cancer. PRIMAGE proposes a cloud-based platform to support decision making in the clinical management of malignant solid tumors, offering predictive tools to assist diagnosis, prognosis, therapies choice and treatment follow up, based on the use of novel imaging biomarkers, in-silico tumor growth simulation, advanced visualization of predictions with weighted confidence scores and machine-learning based translation of this knowledge into predictors for the most relevant, disease-specific, Clinical End Points.

The proposed data infrastructures, imaging biomarkers and models for in-silico medicine research will be validated in the application context of two pediatric cancers, Neuroblastoma (NB, the most frequent solid cancer of early childhood) and the Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG, the leading cause of brain tumor-related death in children). One of the final objectives of the project will be to know the most effective treatment and the main characteristics of tumors without having to biopsy.

MATICAL is supporting the project management of PRIMAGE and leading the identification of research results, assessing their potential as intellectual property (IP) assets and their future exploitation in different forms: publications, patents or even marketable products; defining the most suitable strategies to protect them.

About childhood cancer

The term childhood cancer is used to designate diverse types of cancer that appear before the age of 15. It is considered a rare disease due to its incidence: 15 new cases per year per 100,000 children under 14 years old, according to the Spanish Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (SEHOP). It is estimated that half a million European citizens will be survivors of childhood cancer in 2020 and two-thirds of them will have long-term side effects affecting their life quality. Despite these high rates of cure, cancer remains the leading cause of non-traumatic death in childhood. Cancers that affect children are different from adults. The most frequent types are leukemias, brain tumors, lymphomas and neuroblastomas. 

  •  Neuroblastoma: is the most common extracranial tumor in children. Every year in Europe about 35,000 new cases of children and adolescents are diagnosed. 1 in every 300 newborns will develop cancer before reaching 20 years. In Spain, about 1,000 cases are diagnosed per year. With a median age at diagnosis of 16 months and more than 95% of cases diagnosed before age 7, neuroblastoma accounts for 8 – 10% of all cases of pediatric cancer and is characterized by its great biological heterogeneity, clinical and survival.
  • Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG): A very rare tumor in children having a disastrous survival (10%) despite all the used weapons and all the research underway is DIPG (or diffuse glioma of the trunk). There is no curative treatment and that radiotherapy (standard treatment) is palliative since the quality of life of the patient prevails. About 16 patients are diagnosed per year in Spain. This type of tumor represents 2.5% of all oncological children and 13% of pediatric tumors of the central nervous system (CNS).

Top researches in in-silico technologies and clinical experts

The in-silico research and medical imaging part of the project are coordinated by Dr. Luis Martí Bonmatí, one of the few recognized experts in medical imaging in the world. He is the author of more than 250 journal manuscripts in the fields of radiology and applications of imaging biomarkers to the study of brain, heart, musculoskeletal system and different pathologies like cancer. He is the current president of the European Society of Abdominal and Gastrointestinal Radiology (ESGAR) and has been president of other scientific societies like the European Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology (ESMRMB) in the period 2002-2003. He is also a member of the Scientific Editorial Board of European Radiology (European Society of Radiology – ESR), the Editorial Board of Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine (MAGMA), the Editorial Board of EURORAD, the Editorial Board of Cancer Imaging and the Editorial Board of Diagnostic Imaging Europe.

The clinical part is coordinated by Dr. Adela Cañete. She is the head of the Pediatric Oncology Unit of University Hospital La Fe. Vice chairman Neuroblastoma group of SEHOP (Spanish Society of Pediatric Oncology-Hematology). President Ethics Committee Hospital La Fe. Member of the Cancer clinical research institute at HULAFE (GICTC) accredited by the Spanish Ministry of Health in 2014. Member of the Molecular Pediatric Tumor Board of La Fe. Associated professor of Pediatrics University of Valencia, with more than 60 articles published in the field of Neuroblastoma. Now, she leads the diagnosis and treatment of European children with low and intermediate risk neuroblastoma as the main investigator. The Neuroblastoma group of the La Fe University and Polytechnic Hospital is a national reference center (CSUR) and a European center (Paed-Can).

Members of the consortium

  • HULAFE – Fundacion Para La Investigacion Del Hospital Universitario La Fe De La Comunidad Valenciana (Spain)
  • Matical Innovation (Spain)
  • Quibim (Spain)
  • Medexprim (France)
  • Universitat Konstanz (Germany)
  • Universita Di Pisa (Italy)
  • Universidad De Zaragoza (Spain)
  • University Of Sheffield Royal Charter (United Kingdom)
  • Ansys France (France)
  • Anna Kinderkrebsforschung (Austria)
  • Klinikum Der Universitaet Zu Koeln (Germany)
  • Siop Europe Asbl (Belgium)
  • Universitat Politecnica De Valencia (Spain)
  • Akademia Gorniczo-Hutnicza Im. Stanislawa Staszica W Krakowie (Poland)
  • Chemotargets (Spain)
  • Universita Di Bologna (Italy)

The Kick-off meeting of the project took place on the 19th and 20th of December at the premises of the Hospital La Fe, in Valencia (Spain). There were 47 participants, including project partners and advisory board members. Project goals and workplan for PRIMAGE in 2019 were reviewed. The consortium had the chance also to visit the facilities of Hospital de la Fe especially the areas of pediatric oncology and radiology and medical images.