Digital image archive set up to aid cancer research
Kolkata: Aiming to harness Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deep learning methods for medical queries in the field of image banking, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur and Tata Medical Center (TMC) have created an architecture image bio-bank to aid cancer research in the country, an official said on Saturday.
The bio-bank, named the Comprehensive Digital Archive of Cancer Imaging (CHAVI), will address the emerging field of imaging-related research. On the success of the pilot project, it can be scaled up to a larger set of medical images.
Medical imagery can then be combined with AI to enable the reach of treatment to more people as well as provide targeted therapy based on individual symptoms.
IIT Kharagpur, through the National Digital Library Initiative (NDLI) of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD), has joined hands in initiating a pilot project on developing an image data bank for cancer patients, and the present focus is on radio oncology.
As a pilot, radiation oncology-related images are being banked within the NDLICHAVI RO project.
"The overarching aim is to build up a national bank of annotated images with a flexible query interface and link it with a pipeline of radiomic (extracting a large amount of features from radiographic medical images) services for furthering radiomic research in large image datasets," the official said in a statement.
Also, TMC has created a large repository of medical data and images of cancer patients including outcomes of treatment in many cases. It faced various challenges while building this system. The first and foremost was preserving the anonymity of patients as well as maintaining adequate referential integrity, a necessity for carrying out useful research.
A workshop titled "Structuring a Collaborative National Image Banking Program" supported by MHRD through the NDLI project was organised here on Friday at TMC to enhance the CHAVI project.
Several expert doctors from India, the US, the UK and specialists in the area of Computer Science from India participated in the panel discussions and presentations.
"We need more affordable solutions in India for cancer treatment, the majority of our patients are middle class and lower middle class and cannot afford genomic analysis. Image banking combined with predictive/prescriptive AI can enable us to identify signatures as a much more cost-effective alternative," Sanjoy Chatterjee, TMC, Kolkata said.
Talking about the unique project, Partha Pratim Chakrabarti from NDLI said: "The CHAVI project is the first of its kind. The objective of the National Digital Library of India is to make accessible material for doing research that normally could not have been done in India. With the CHAVI project, as a beginning, we have chosen cancer imaging database along with Tata Medical Centre because of their tremendous expertise".
"Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases in our country. If we are able to create a very well defined, annotated database, it will help researchers as well as doctors to be able to do early, more accurate diagnosis and provide better treatment for our people which is a lot more cost-effective," he added.