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Jean-Michel Prima - 19/02/2013

A cloud for medical imaging

Christian Barillot, head of the Visages research team Christian Barillot, head of the Visages joint project team

On 16 October 2012, the B-com Institute for Technological Research (IRT) signed a funding agreement with the French National Research Agency (ANR). Based in Rennes, with secondary sites in Brest and Lannion, B-com is the fourth French IRT to be created.

"B-com will innovate at the highest level in images, networks and healthcare ," researcher Christian Barillot explains. The objective is to bring together public and private partners to develop joint research programmes with a global dimension, as well as technology platforms and training to achieve excellence in the most competitive sectors. Total 10-year budget: €200 million of which €60 million under the future investments programme and €30 million provided by local authorities.

Around 10% of the total budget will go towards e-health programmes. There are three projects in the pipeline: GestChir, on surgical procedures; Evaltelemed, on remote medicine; and EasyMed, on medical imaging and the cloud.

The third of these segments is the one we will be working in, " says Christian Barillot, head of the Visages research team. The aim of EasyMed is to build a cloud for medical imaging. In the context of data dematerialisation, what we are interested in is developing our image management tools, particularly Shanoir. ”  From a simple website, this platform can be used to load and host medical data, and enrich them according to the production context. The user can thus connect to image processing software and, for example, remove interference, then record the modified data.  Among the usable processing software tools is MedInria, version 2.0 of which includes the latest work of the Inria team on medical imaging.  “It's all very complementary.

An infrastructure for cohorts

EasyMed is an extension of research that began nearly 10 years ago. “The ultimate aim is to be able to manage cohorts, the clinical databases used by doctors as well as by testing companies such as the Rennes-based SME Biotrial, an IRT partner. These companies are going to need to use information processing tools in their studies. They need infrastructures that offer these kinds of services. That is the whole point of the project at the IRT, with scientific and technological challenges arising along the way.

ICST for Health

The IRT B-com has been endorsed and supported from the start of the project by Images & Réseaux. The director of the latter, Bertrand Guilbaud, has also just been appointed managing director of B-com, confirming the strong link between these two structures. The IRT completes the dynamic ecosystem of the cluster with an innovative system.  As Christian Barillot points out, "the IRT allows us to make much faster progress by pooling more resources around certain projects with a strong focus on technology transfer. It will also raise the profile of Rennes and Brittany. In the health field, the other regions have their own pillars which allow them to project onto the national or international scene. A city like Nantes, for instance, is well-known for its work in biology and healthcare. That is not so much the case for us. There are some remarkable things going on, but not on that scale. Rennes's reputation in healthcare is based on its ICSTs.

Keywords: IRT B-Com Shanoir Visages Health