October 14, 2002

Oxford University, IBM and UK government build massive grid for breast cancer screening

Oxford University has joined
with IBM and the UK Government to build a sophisticated computing Grid
based on the open standards of Linux that will enable early screening and
diagnosis of breast cancer, and provide medical professionals with more
information to help treat the disease.

The project, which represents an investment of approximately $6 million
jointly by IBM and the UK, has been named "eDiamond" by Oxford researchers
and is part of the UK government's eScience initiative. eDiamond will be
the first Grid built entirely with commercially available technology,
including a first-of-its-kind software developed by Mirada Solutions to
standardize new and existing digital mammogram images. This capability
will help radiologists accurately compare and evaluate mammography scans
stored on eDiamond, no matter where or when they were created. eDiamond is
expected to create a new model for assembling computing and data storage
infrastructures for scanning, storing and analyzing mammograms.

"I am delighted this collaboration between leading academics, IBM, and
Mirada, funded jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and
IBM, has led to the development of a project that could have such a direct
benefit to society, said Lord Sainsbury, UK minister for Science. "The
eDiamond program, part of the UK's £118 million e-Science initiative, will
improve the detection of breast cancer and increase the efficiency of its
subsequent treatment. The UK government recognizes the importance of
projects such as this and we have recently increased our investment in
science. By 2005-06 we will have increased the investment in our science
base by £1.25 billion per year compared with this year. This project shows
that investment in knowledge transfer enables effective partnerships
between companies and universities or research institutes."

Patients, physicians and hospitals will benefit from better and faster
access to more reliable and accurate mammogram images, thereby potentially
increasing early cancer detection and the number of lives saved.

"We're applying the vast computing power of a Grid to create a massive
digital 'photo album' of mammogram scans available to medical experts
across the UK," said Nicholas M. Donofrio, senior vice president,
technology and manufacturing for IBM. "The on-demand processing and
storage capabilities of eDiamond will enable our most advanced technologies
to personally and positively impact people more than ever before. The
results of this project could transform breast cancer screening in the
future and save lives."

The eDiamond Grid represents an investment in the future of Grid technology
in the UK and is made possible through a joint investment by IBM and the UK
Government, valued at approximately $6 million (£4.2 million). IBM's
contribution includes servers, storage systems, workstations and other
computing hardware furnished through a grant from its Shared University
Research (SUR) program. Oxford also plans to integrate middleware and other
software products provided via IBM's Scholars program.

In addition to enabling hospitals to store and share mammograms in digital
form, the eDiamond Grid will provide physicians with advanced analytical
tools and capabilities to better diagnose cancer in patients. Mammogram
images will be data mined, allowing physicians to develop new forms of
treatment by conducting in-depth studies to determine the impact of
environment and lifestyle on the development of breast cancer. The Grid
also is expected to help reduce the rate of false-positive diagnosis,
overcome the challenge of inconsistent image formats and lost films that
prevent proper diagnosis, while also allowing physicians to study and
compare similar cases so they can develop better treatment options.

The eDiamond Grid will be developed with direct input from surgeons,
radiologists, and other cancer specialists and will use hardware and
software available today. Many previous Grid projects included heavily
customized technologies.

IBM's DB2 and DiscoveryLink middleware will provide the advanced search and
data mining capabilities and IBM WebSphere will enable file serving. IBM
hardware powering the data Grid will include IBM's eServer pSeries and
xSeries servers running Linux; TotalStorage FAStT500 storage servers and
IBM Tape Library 3583; SAN Fibre Channel Switch; Netvista desktop
computers; and IntelliStation workstations with T221 high-resolution flat
screen monitors. The UK Mammography Grid will also be based on open
protocols and will incorporate the Globus Toolkit as well as Open Grid
Services Architecture (OGSA) when available in 2003.

Creating a National Digital Mammography Archive for the UK

Initially, the Grid will link a large federated database of mammograms
shared by St. Georges Hospital and Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Trust
Hospitals in London, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and the Breast
Screening Centers in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland. The project
potentially could be expanded to all 92 screening centers throughout the
UK, creating the UK's first national digital mammography archive.

Regular reviews will occur throughout the project between the project team,
the funding bodies (the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council,
IBM, and the Medical Research Council), the UK Department of Trade and
Industry, and the UK National Health Service. The eDiamond Grid project
required an industry and technology heavyweight to help turn the Grid from
concept into a full-scale IT project. IBM's expertise in the deployment and
delivery of large scale IT projects will be crucial if deployment is made
to 92 cancer hospitals across the UK. The project involves a three-way
collaboration between IBM, the prestigious computer science and engineering
departments at Oxford, and Mirada Solutions, a start-up company that has
developed the intellectual property for the Standard Mammographic Form
(SMF) that will be used in the project.

The project also could be expanded to create a worldwide digital
mammography Grid by linking up with screening programs being developed in
France, Germany and Japan, as well as other similar Grid projects,
including one underway in the United States with IBM and the University of
Pennsylvania.

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of
leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across
IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services,
solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take
full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about
IBM, visit www.ibm.com.

About Oxford University

Oxford is one of Europe's most innovative and entrepreneurial universities.
Drawing on an 800-year tradition of discovery and invention, modern Oxford
leads the way in creating jobs, wealth, skills and innovation for the 21st
century. Isis Innovation, the University's wholly owned technology transfer
company, files on average one new patent application per week and spins out
a new company from University research every two months. A total of 37
Oxford spin-out companies have been formed to date, (29 in the last five
years), and all are successful to date. For further information see
www.ox.ac.uk

About Mirada

Mirada is the result of the 'fusion' of two companies spun out from the
Medical Vision Laboratory of the University of Oxford led by Professor Mike
Brady, OXIVA and OMIA. The Medical Vision Laboratory is a world class
research centre that has been developing clinically proven technology for
over a decade.

OXIVA and OMIA joined forces in 2001 to form Mirada Solutions (Medical
Image and Radiology Analysis Solutions Ltd.) to become the leading provider
of medical image analysis algorithms. Based in Oxford (UK) and with
commercial offices in Virginia, (USA) and The Hague (Netherlands), Mirada
aims to position its technology at the service of OEM companies demanding a
competitive edge to their medical imaging offering, and to address the
direct needs of doctors requiring state of the art software packages to
help address medical imaging problems not currently tackled by the imaging
industry. For further information see www.mirada-solutions.com.

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