Arrow Left Health research

Use case: Vantage6: Open Source Infrastructure for the Personal Health Train

The aim of this project is to develop and deploy rails for the Personal Health Train. Vantage6 is an open source infrastructure to connect data stations and run analyses.

Medical relevance

Healthcare data research and particularly research on real world cancer data, increasingly involves analyses of combined data sets.


Datasets can be partitoned horizontally or vertically. Horizontal: for instance in international cancer registry collaborations that combine datasets with data from different patients for the same features (e.g. age, cancer stage). Vertical: scientists study data of a particular group of patients for different features that is distributed across multiple databases (e.g. hospital EMR, pathology reports, primary care data).

For both horizontally and vertically partitioned data, Vantage6 provides an infrastructure (rails) to deploy algorithms (trains) to securely analyze the data (journeys) while ensuring patient privacy.

The PHT principle is important for IKNL to realize sustainable, responsible cancer registration and research. It enables researchers to combine data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) with information from other sources, such as the national pathology database (PALGA) or genomics data at the Hartwig Medical Foundation for research in precision oncology. For palliative care research, the NCR is enriched with data from primary care, health insurers and data from cancer patients including sources outside the Netherlands, such as the international cancer registries.

Main results

With international partners, IKNL developed an open source implementation of the PHT: Vantage Secure Insights eXchange.

IKNL is coordinating the development of Vantage6 for application in research projects involving the NCR.

Initiated in collaboration with Maastro, the first full release of Vantage6 was launched in 2019. Vantage6 now serves as the software for national and international PHT projects, coordinated by IKNL and Maastro.

Follow up

Other parties are using Vantage6 outside oncology field. The German partners in the GO-FAIR PHT Implementation Network decided to connect their own software with Vantage6 and join the development community led by IKNL. Other international parties (Australia, Japan) are considering Vantage6 as well.

Available material combines secure and encrypted internet communication protocols with Docker, software enabling to safely execute an analyses script at a data station. provides the documentation and source code to install and deploy the software and gives access to the online Vantage6 developers platform.

Project details

Project leader

Frank Martin
Cooperating partners

Maastro Clinic, TNO, Eindhoven University of Technology, Newcastle University, ITRI, Taiwan National University




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