News | January 08, 2008

Mayo Clinic, IBM Establish Medical Imaging Research Center

January 9, 2008 - Mayo Clinic and IBM collaborated to create The Medical Imaging Informatics Innovation Center (MI3C) aimed at advancing medical imaging technologies to improve the quality of patient care, an extension of a Mayo-IBM research collaboration announced in 2007, the results of which have given physicians the ability to register medical images up to 50-times faster and provide critical diagnosis, such as the growth or shrinkage of tumors, in seconds instead of hours.

Driving these patient-centered projects will be a full-time team of Mayo and IBM researchers and development staff aiming to tackle maximum-resolution organ imaging to provide physical (phenotype) information that parallels the current level of genetic detail available for the same tissue. This is designed to give physicians a much more complete impression of a patient’s condition. The group will also work on image-guided tumor ablation to pinpoint and maximize efficiency of heat transfer probes used to destroy cancer tumors. By guiding physicians, this innovation can help to improve accuracy and minimize side effects.

Video swallow analysis will be researched to see and compare how stroke patients swallow in order to better determine the severity of their disability and help provide proper physical therapy as well as protection against choking. Finally, automated change detection and analysis designed to allow physicians to compare a new image with a previous one, eliminate what has not changed and to better assess what change has occurred, helping to improve diagnostic speed and accuracy.

At the heart of the MI3C will be high-end imaging platforms and computational hardware, including IBM’s breakthrough computing system based on the Cell Broadband Engine and blade technology. The MI3C will showcase this capability along with Mayo’s leadership in medical imaging research and informatics.

The MI3C will be housed on the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, MN, and will bring together clinicians, researchers and vendors in an environment where they can freely interact. By mutual agreement, third parties also will have future opportunities to collaborate with IBM and Mayo in the facility.

In addition to increasing interest and participation in imaging projects that can help to improve patient care, the MI3C also hopes to attract research grants for future investigations. The work will not only grow assets in imaging informatics at IBM and Mayo, including potential new graphics tools for visualization, but also lead to development of a software library for advanced medical imaging on high-end computer systems.

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