Public Release: 

Tecnalia wins 'Oscar' for innovation in 'Medical Google'

Elhuyar Fundazioa

This year the prestigious European EARTO organization has awarded its 2014 Innovation Prize to Tecnalia's Biosimil project, a computer search tool for biological and medical samples that contributes to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The prize, considered to be the 'Oscar' of innovation, was handed over in Brussels, the aim of EARTO being to award the best innovations developed in Europe, based on the viability of their launch as well as on the social and economic impact involved.

Biosimil has been developed by Tecnalia within the remit of the Biopool health project, led by the Basque Government's Department of Health Biobank research project, with their partners in the Biopool project - the ComputerVisionTeam at TECNALIA - and with the support of the European Commission's Seventh Framework Research Programme. The Biopool project has created a web search tool for medical images stored in biobanks throughout the world. This search tool, based on image recognition, will cut by 60% the time employed by doctors, universities, research centres and pharmaceutical companies in identifying biological samples that help in advancing in their research, accelerate discoveries and, ultimately, adapt treatment for patients.

Biobanks are bodies that store and store biological samples, such as tumour tissues. In order to carry out their projects, the researchers need a large quantity of samples with specific characteristics. In order to achieve the totality of the same, they have to contact various biobanks, especially in the case of rare diseases. Thanks to this Medical Google, a researcher will be able to search any biobank worldwide and the biological samples that he or she needs in order to undertake their research, independently of the location, language, etc.

The EARTO prize is awarded by an independent jury, made up of Jan-Eric Sundgren, Principal Advisor to the Executive Director of Volvo; Professor Hans-Jörg Bullinger, Member of the European Commission's High Level Group (HLG) of Research, Innovation and Science Policy Experts (RISE); Clara de la Torre, Director of the European Commission; Richard Hudson, Founder and Editor of Science and Business; Allyson Reed, Director of Corporate Relations at Warwick University in the United Kingdom; Leopold Demiddeleer, ex-Director of future business at Solvay in Belgium; and Christopher John Hull, ex-Secretary General of EARTO.

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