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COMFORT Successfully Kicked Off Activities in Sunny Berlin

In June, the COMFORT partners gathered in the heart of Berlin near the coordinating institution, Charité, for the project's kick-off meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to get to know each other in person and to discuss the project plan, including associated opportunities and potential risks.

With sunshine outside, the meeting began with a warm welcome from Coordinator Keno Bressem (Charité), before he handed over to George Kolostoumpis (ECPC) who highlighted the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the patient journey. In AI-driven patient journeys, AI technology serves to enhance the patient experience and improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. Various AI technologies may be used at each step in the process, including natural language processing (NLP) for patient intake and appointment scheduling, machine learning (ML) algorithms for diagnosis and treatment planning, and predictive analytics for post-treatment monitoring and follow-up care. COMFORT will use this cutting-edge approach to generate the best results for people affected by kidney cancer and prostate cancer.

The first meeting day continued with presentations and discussions on each Work Package, as well as the first meetings of the General Assembly and Internal Ethics Board. The latter meeting initiated important discussions on ethics applications, language models and ethical considerations, as well as bias and privacy. Before a joint evening walk through Berlin's government district to a restaurant, members of the advisory and stakeholder boards closed the first day by providing valuable feedback and expressing their positive view on the project, its goals, and set-up.

On day two, partners focused on knowledge sharing, which is particularly important in projects like COMFORT where partners have varied areas of expertise and need to establish a common language. This day’s first session focused on patient engagement and was led by ECPC. This was followed by presentations from Keno Bressem on "Urologic Oncology for Computer Scientists" and Lili Jiang (Umea University) on "Deep Learning for Physicians".

In summary, the COMFORT kick-off meeting was a success, with partners setting the stage for the next few years of close interdisciplinary collaboration and scientific advancement.