University of Chicago to host new COVID-19 medical imaging resource center

A collaborative network will enlist medical imaging and clinical data sciences to reveal unique features of COVID-19
06 August 2020
CT scan of lungs of COVID-19 patient
CT scan of lungs of COVID-19 patient with areas described by radiologists as resembling grains of ground glass. Credit: RSNA

A new center hosted at the University of Chicago, and co-led by the largest medical imaging professional organizations in the country, will help tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by curating a massive database of medical images to help better understand and treat the disease.

Headed by Maryellen Giger, the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Radiology at UChicago, and leaders from the American College of Radiology (ACR), Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), the new Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center (MIDRC) will create an open-source database with medical images from thousands of COVID-19 patients. Funding is from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"We have not sufficiently explored imaging for its role in helping us fight COVID-19, especially in terms of developing machine intelligence tools and systems," said Giger. "There currently are not enough curated data available to study. But having these top imaging organizations involved will make a difference - almost every scientist or clinician in medical imaging belongs to at least one of these organizations."

While COVID-19 will be its initial focus, the team hopes to eventually expand the MIDRC into a resource that would span diseases and disciplines, creating focused medical imaging data commons and machine intelligence pipelines for chronic and other infectious diseases.

"This effort will enable the rapid open distribution of curated COVID-19 imaging and associated data to empower a broad community of data scientists in academia, government and industry to answer, quickly and rigorously, critical questions about patient care," said Giger. "Ultimately, it will be expanded to incorporate additional data from multiple registries and repositories to support the NIH's data collection efforts, allowing researchers to address topics no single archive could inform independently."

Read the full press release from University of Chicago.

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