In an important development for biomedical imaging research, Paul Kinahan, joint professor of Bioengineering and Radiology, and a collaborative team have been awarded funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) through the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center (MIDRC). The focus of the grant is to address a critical gap in medical research by providing a reliable and extensive source of curated medical images and associated data for the scientific community.

Paul KinahanFunded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, MIDRC was initially formed to help combat COVID-19 through the use of artificial intelligence in medical imaging. The $12 million ARPA-H award will allow MIDRC to expand into cancer imaging. As a member of the team, Kinahan will represent the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). Other principal investigators are from the American College of Radiology®, the Radiological Society of North America and the University of Chicago.

Before the establishment of MIDRC, investigators faced significant challenges in accessing a centralized and reliable repository of medical images and data for their studies. This hindered progress in understanding diseases and developing effective diagnostic and treatment strategies. Recognizing this gap, the MIDRC set out to create a comprehensive solution that would serve as a resource for the entire medical imaging research community. MIDRC currently provides open access to over 165,000 exams from 70,000 patients, with over 4 million images. An equal number of images are in process for release.

The ARPA-H initiative is designed to revolutionize health research by accelerating the development and application of cutting-edge technologies and methodologies. With a focus on high-risk, high-reward projects, ARPA-H aims to transform the landscape of medical research and address some of the most pressing health challenges.