- Development of a web-based interface to MRI data acquired with a Biospec MR Imager (Bruker, Germania);
- allowing authenticated users to export acquired images in DICOM file format;
- installation of an open-source PACS server at the MRI laboratory of the University of Verona;
- connection of the Biospec tomograph to the PACS server.
Nowadays, basic research activities produce considerable amount of data and information, mostly generated by computer and analytical instruments. Proper storage of this information plays an important role in the management of a research lab. Losing information means losing years of work and all the know-how acquired, but can also imply considerable money and image loss.
Another crucial aspect is the sharing of the data. In practice, in fact, data generated by one research group are hardly accessible to other groups which collaborate on the same project. This is particularly relevant in scientific collaborations established with laboratories of other domestic and foreign universities. Such difficulties lie mainly in the lack of standards for generated data and sharing protocols. The absence of tools for sharing the results produced by different research groups may even render useless the information collected during the research.
In preclinical research, many labs are equipped with a variety of imaging platforms (MRI, Optical Imaging, CT, etc.), each of them producing large amounts of data. Preclinical imaging instrumentation usually does not comply with any specific standard regarding data storage. Rather, each manufacturer adopts a proprietary format for its data, which makes it difficult to share the information. In our institute, a preclinical research group has been actively operating Magnetic Resonance Imaging with the widely used Biospec tomograph produced by Bruker Biospin (Ettlingen, Germany). Images acquired with this instrument are presently stored in a format accessible only through proprietary software ParaVision® (Bruker). The tomograph, as is the case in many other laboratories, is shared by several research groups, and experiments are usually carried out in collaboration between local and foreign groups. This situation is common to most laboratories of this type. Sharing information in a secure, fast, and reliable way appears to be a priority.
For the above mentioned reasons, the aim of this project is to develop a web-based interface which allows access to data stored on the acquisition workstation for a Magnetic Resonance Imager Bruker Biospec. The system will be extendable to other imaging platforms or even other types of data. We believe that such a system could be of interest for most experimental MRI laboratories using Bruker Biospec instruments and therefore we plan to distribute to the scientific community the final product of this project.