Global data repository for interstitial lung diseases launched

Wednesday, 22 September, 2021

Global data repository for interstitial lung diseases launched

The Open Source Imaging Consortium (OSIC) has announced the launch of its data-rich repository of anonymised HRCT scans and clinical information regarding interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) — a large and diverse database featuring a plethora of real-world clinical and imaging data that is both multi-ethnic and multi-centre.

The OSIC Data Repository currently houses close to 1500 anonymised and quality-controlled scans with accompanying data, and has an additional 5000 in the quality control queue. It is on track to reach its goal of 15,000 anonymised scans, available to OSIC members, by Q1 2022.

OSIC — a global, not-for-profit cooperative effort between academia, industry and patient advocacy groups — was created to enable rapid, open-source advances in the fight against idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), fibrosing ILDs and other respiratory diseases. Radiologists, clinicians, computational scientists and industry competitors from around the world collaborated for almost three years on the development of the database, and are working together to advance digital imaging biomarkers for imaging-based diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of response to therapy. Any OSIC-created algorithms will be made open source for the benefit of patients everywhere.

“In recent years we have seen rapid developments in advanced medical imaging analysis, but a major obstacle to harnessing this technology used to study pulmonary fibrosis is the lack of large diverse imaging repositories needed for computer training,” said OSIC radiology lead Dr Simon Walsh, from the UK National Heart and Lung Institute and Imperial College London.

“OSIC addresses this unmet need by providing researchers with the data needed to develop AI-based applications for improving patient care and facilitating precision medicine. Being able to reliably predict how pulmonary fibrosis will progress in an individual patient would allow doctors to initiate appropriate treatment at the earliest opportunity and slow disease progression.”

The OSIC Data Repository was built with images and clinical data from a variety of sources, and every scan has been anonymised with a personal and automated quality control check. The database has been vetted by two global GDPR/HIPAA privacy firms, has Central IRB and multiple institution IRB approvals, and will be managed in compliance with all applicable privacy laws, regulations, consents and related restrictions.

“Building the OSIC repository has been a collaboration in its truest sense, with people from different disciplines, organisations and countries all coming together on behalf of patients everywhere,” said OSIC pulmonology lead Dr Kevin Brown, from National Jewish Health (US). “This ability to collect and organise anonymised imaging and clinical data from across the world is the future of clinical science.

“We’ve seen efforts like this in common diseases, but nothing truly like it for rare diseases. As the OSIC database grows and we continuously learn from it, a real and substantial improvement in our ability to diagnose early, to predict outcomes and to measure responses to therapy will be the result.”

“The future of medical research depends heavily on our ability to collate significant amounts of data, and make that data available for detailed and open scientific investigation,” added OSIC computational science lead Dr David Barber, from University College London.

“Data is the essence of scientific progress and the OSIC Data Repository already contains preliminary data rich enough to better understand the causes of disease, leading to better treatment and patient outcomes.”

Image credit: ©

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