HealthGrid 2006 Proceedings proclaim medical imaging and bioinformatics most promising health care applications for Grid

Amsterdam 11 July 2006The conference proceedings of the fourth edition of the annual "HealthGrid" event, held June 7-9, 2006 in Valencia, Spain, have been published as the 120th volume in the series dedicated to Studies in Health Technology and Informatics by IOS Press in Amsterdam. This HealthGrid 2006 edition includes 29 papers divided into five categories: Medical Imaging on the Grid; Ethical, Legal and Privacy Issues on HealthGrids; Bioinformatics on the Grid; Knowledge Discovery on HealthGrids; and Medical Assessment and HealthGrid Applications. The Proceedings titled "Challenges and Opportunities of HealthGrids" also contain 11 Posters and Short Contributions describing a variety of HealthGrid aspects and applications in a sixth and final chapter.


According to the editors of the HealthGrid 2006 Proceedings, the focus on medical imaging and bioinformatics as the two main areas in which HealthGrids have demonstrated a greater level of maturity in applications hitherto confirms the analysis of the HealthGrid White Paper that has been published last year. Indeed, nine papers are dedicated to medical imaging on the Grid in the new Proceedings and eight of them address the bioinformatics domain. The twelve remaining studies are equally divided among the rest of the topics: four on ethical, legal and privacy issues; four on knowledge discovery; and four on medical assessment.

In the medical imaging field, the NeuroBase project team is using a federated Grid to distribute neuro-imaging information sources across the Internet. Still in the neurological domain, a Grid implementation of statistical parametric mapping analysis allows to detect Alzheimer's Disease in an early stage. The EGEE Grid architecture shows promise for future interactive computing services in medical image processing and is applied for pharmacokinetic modelling to combat liver cancer. A French team has developed a mechanism to assess the quality of co-registration methods using the EGEE Grid in a methodology called "Bronze Standard". EGEE also both enables the deployment of a Medical Data Management service and the simulation of magnetic resonance imgaging (MRI) images. Functional MRI is being performed in the Virtual Laboratory for e-Science (VL-e) project to study brain activation due to motor or cognitive stimulation. In the very same VL-e project, Dutch researchers are building a service-oriented architecture to Grid enable serveral classes of computationally intensive medical applications.

Bioinformatics Grids are demonstrating their use in the fight against diseases such as malaria in the WISDOM project, which stands for Worldwide In Silico Docking on Malaria; infectuous diseases in the Sealife project where a semantic Grid browser has been conceived for the life sciences; and SARS with the development of an Access Grid in Taiwan that is serving as a disease management and collaborative platform for medical data exchange. Genome sequencing is being addressed in the EGEE-Grid-based GPS@ bioinformatics portal and in the Blast2GO tool for gene ontology-based DNA and protein sequence annotation. More protein structure prediction is being performed in the Gridified "Rokky-G" framework. The BIOPATTERN Grid testbed has been designed for bioprofiling to detect dementia and brain injury on an individual basis. The Russian ChemBioGrid team is proposing the integration of OGSA-DAI technologies for biochemical distributed data.

Ethico-legal issues in HealthGrid use are addressed by Jean Herveg who discusses the problem of consent when processing medical data via the Grid and by Richard Sinnott who handles the establishment of Virtual Organisations for clinical trials in epidemiology. Matters of privacy are tackled in a study on the distribution of encryption management over a Virtual Organisation and in an EGEE-Grid paper about encrypting genetic information.

The semantic integration of medical information is the aim of the ARTEMIS project. The ARTEMIS team has developed a secure semantic Web service infrastructure for the interoperability of health care information systems. In Greece a semantically enriched biomedical service space has been developed to identify protein-coding genes across the Grid. The ACGT project, which stands for Advancing Clinico Genomic Trials, aims to build a European biomedical Grid for cancer research based on the principles of open access and open source. The Health-e-Child Consortium is developing an integrated Grid-based health care platform for European paediatrics.

In the Medical Assessment and HealthGrid Applications sector, medical expertise between biomedical experts can be shared in the MediGrid project's Grid-empowered collaborative environment. The mobile Peer-to-Grid framework offers emergency management for hospitals and ambulances. The Euro-Mediterranean Internet-Satellite Platform for Health, medical Education and Research (EMISPHER) has created an invisible Grid for virtual hospital and digital medicine services. Finally, the MammoGrid project team describes the results and the exploitation plans of their Grid-based medical imaging system to detect breast cancer.

In the "posters and short contributions" section, eleven HealthGrid projects are being hightlighted. The SHARE project is proposing a roadmap for HealthGrids. The eIMRT project offers radiotherapists a set of algorithms to optimize and validate radiotherapy treatments using Grid technologies. NeuroGrid provides a Grid-based collaborative research environment to support the sharing of digital images and patient data across multiple distributed sites. PsyGrid will use Grid computing tools in the area of epidemiology. The security issue is addressed in a Japanese study describing medical data sharing by means of PERMIS, or an RBAC-based authorization system with XML element level access control.

A French paper describes a data integration system for genomic data to identify genes which influence malaria impact on people. The early results of the BIOINFOGRID project for genomics and protein analysis are presented in an Italian paper by L. Milanesi and I. Merelli. The TRENCADIS project defines a generic and secure Service Oriented Architecture to share, search and process DICOM objects with different ontologies. The GENIUS Web portal allows to use the generic Monte Carlo platform based on the Geant4 tool for Tomographic Emission (GATE) in medical physics applications. Latin-American and European biomedical groups are using the EELA e-infrastructure for their research. The @neurIST eHealth environment has been created to manage all processes related to the research, diagnosis and treatment of complex, multi-factorial diseases.

The HealthGrid 2006 proceedings include 23 European papers: 6 from France, 2 from Spain, 2 from Greece, 2 from The Netherlands, 1 from the United Kingdom, 1 from Russia, 1 from Switzerland, 1 from Belgium, 1 from the Czech Republic, 1 French-German and 1 German-Austrian study, 1 French-British-German and 1 Italo-British-Finnish-Greek study, 1 Italo-Swiss-British-Spanish study, and 1 from the Health-e-Child Consortium consisting of 8 European countries; 1 study is from British-Turkish-German origin, and there are two European-Latin-American papers: 1 Italo-Cuban and 1 Spanish-Cuban research; there is 1 British-Romanian-American study; 1 from Taiwan; and 1 from Japan.

  • Challenges and Opportunities of HealthGrids - Proceedings of Healthgrid 2006
  • Edited by Vicente Hernández, Ignacio Blanquer, Tony Solomonides, Vincent Breton, and Yannick Legré
  • Published by IOS Press - Amsterdam/Berlin/Oxford/Tokyo/Washington, DC
  • 2006 - 407 p.
  • ISBN 1-58603-617-3
  • Available from Paul Gijsbers at IOS Press - Nieuwe Hemweg 6B - 1013 BG Amsterdam - The Netherlands
  • Phone: +31-20-688-3355 - Fax: +31-20-687-0019 - E-mail:

Leslie Versweyveld

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