Since February 2021, Henning Müller, head of the eHealth Unit at the Computer Science Institute of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis in Sierre, has been participating in the European BigPicture project. This project aims to create the largest database of histopathological images in the world, a medical discipline designed to make a diagnosis through the microscopic study of tissues. These tissue samples are taken from sick patients and the images are obtained using a scanner.

With a budget of €70 million over six years, BigPicture brings together 45 academic, medical and pharmaceutical partners from 15 countries. As part of the Horizon 2020 research framework program, it aims to have a decisive impact on the early identification of cancers. In this context, Henning Müller’s team has been awarded €400,000 to develop artificial intelligence tools to support doctors in their diagnosis. “In collaboration with other specialized institutes, we are training algorithms to bring out similarities between these millions of images. Eventually, our platform will allow doctors to compare their patients’ cellular abnormalities with those that are most similar in this database.” This tool can then be used to better categorize a tumor, its severity and stage, to see how other pathologists have treated these cases, as well as to be used for training purposes for doctors.