NIH Launches MIDRC

NIH has launched the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center (MIDRC), to be led by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) to create new tools that physicians can use for early detection and personalized therapies for COVID-19 patients.

The features of infected lungs and hearts seen on medical images can help assess disease severity, predict response to treatment, and improve patient outcomes. However, a major challenge is to rapidly and accurately identify and then evaluate this information in combination with many other clinical symptoms and tests.

For example, a MIDRC Center to be hosted by the University of Chicago and co-led by the largest medical imaging professional organizations in the U.S., will help to curate a massive database of medical images to help better understand and treat disease. The Center is being supported by NIBIB with a $20 million two year federal contract that could be renewed to $50 million over 5 years.

Led by Marvellen Giger, PhD at the University of Chicago’s MIDRC Center along with leaders from the American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, MIDRC will create an open source database with medical images from thousands of COVID-19 patients.

The project involves five infrastructure development projects and includes:

  • Creation of a platform for COVID-19 imaging and associated data
  • Developing a real world testing and implementation platform with direct real time connections to healthcare delivery organizations
  • Implementing quality assurance and evaluation procedures across the MIDRC
  • Launching a data commons portal for data intake, access, and distribution
  • Linking MIDRC to other clinical and research data registries


The committee will also oversee 12 research projects to support solutions to the pandemic plus provide funding and other resources to investigators at the ACR, RSNA, and AAPM as well as across 20 universities and FDA.

Within three months, MIDRC plans to upload more than 10,000 COVID-19 thoracic radiographs and CT scan images via the existing input portals of the RSNA repository and the ACR registry, allowing researchers worldwide to access images and accompanying clinical data to answer new questions about the disease.

While COVID-19 will be the initial focus, it will not be the only target. The team hopes to expand MIDRC to become a resource capable of spanning diseases and disciplines to create focused medical imaging data commons and machine intelligence pipelines for chronic and other infectious diseases.

Share Button