With the advent of the information age in radiology, clinicians are being presented with analysis opportunities hitherto unforeseen, both in terms of data volumes and in data interpretation. Grids computing promises to resolve many of the difficulties in facilitating medical image analysis to allow clinicians to collaborate without having to co-locate.
The EU-funded MammoGrid project aims to investigate the feasibility of developing a Grid-enabled European database of mammograms so that a set of important healthcare applications using this database can be enabled and the potential of the Grids can be harnessed to support co-working between healthcare professionals across the EU.
The MammoGrid information infrastructure which federates multiple mammogram databases will enable clinicians to develop new common, collaborative and co-operative approaches to the analysis of mammographic data.
- To evaluate current Grids technologies and determine the requirements for Grid-compliance in a pan-European mammography database.
- To implement the Mammogrid database, using novel Grid-compliant and Federated-Database technologies that will provide improved access to distributed data and will allow rapid deployment of software packages to operate on locally stored information.
- To deploy enhanced versions of a standardisation system that enables comparison of mammograms in terms of intrinsic tissue properties independently of scanner settings, and to explore its place in the context of medical image formats (DICOM).
- To develop software tools to automatically extract image information that can be used to perform quality controls on the acquisition process of participating centers (eg average brightness, contrast).
- To develop software tools to automatically extract tissue information that can be used to perform clinical studies (eg breast density, presence, number and location of micro-calcifications) in order to increase the performance of breast cancer screening programmes.
- To use the annotated information and the images in the database to benchmark the performance of the software described in points 3, 4 and 5.
- To exploit the Mammogrid database and the algorithms to propose initial pan-European quality controls on mammographic acquisition and ultimately to provide a benchmarking system to third party algorithms.