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Tecnalia Wins The “Oscar” Innovation Award For A Google Doctor

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EARTO, the prestigious European organisation has this year presented its 2014 Innovation Award to TECNALIA's Biosimil project, a search engine for biological and medical samples which helps to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The Award, considered to be the “Oscar” for Innovation, was presented in Brussels today in the presence of Joaquín Almunia, European Competition Commissioner and Commission VicePresident, and with it, EARTO wishes to reward the best innovations developed in Europe, based on the feasibility of their implementation, as well as the social and economic impacts they will have. 

Biosimil, framed within the Biopool healthcare project led by the Basque Biobank for Research (Department of Health of the Basque Government), has been carried out by TECNALIA's Computer Vision Team jointly with the Biopool partners and supported by the EC 7FP. The Biosimil project creates a web browser for medical images stored in biobanks throughout the world. This search engine, based on image recognition, will reduce the time required by doctors, universities, research centres and pharmaceutical companies by 60% when looking for biological samples to help them advance their research, accelerate discoveries and, in essence, to adapt treatments to each patient.

Biobanks are companies which store and supply biological samples, such as tumour tissue. The researchers need a large number of samples with specific characteristics to carry out their projects. For this purpose, they must contact several biobanks, especially in the case of rare illnesses. Thanks to this Google Doctor, a researcher will be able to search for any biological samples they may need for their research, regardless of place, language, etc.

The EARTO award is presented by an independent panel, made up of: Jan-Eric Sundgren, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of Volvo; Professor Hans-Jörg Bullinger, Member of the European Commission High-Level Group (HLG) for Research, Innovation and Science Policy Experts (RISE); Clara de la Torre, Director of the European Commission Research and Innovation Directorate;  Richard Hudson, Founder and Editor of Science|Business; Allyson Reed, Director of Corporate Relations of the University of Warwick, United Kingdom; Léopold Demiddeleer, former future business director of Solvay, Belgium; Christopher John Hull, former Secretary-General of EARTO.