Molecular imaging serves as an important tool for researchers and clinicians to visualize and investigate complex biochemical phenomena using specialized instruments; these instruments are either used individually or in combination with targeted imaging agents to obtain images related to specific diseases with high sensitivity, specificity, and signal-to-noise ratios. However, molecular imaging, which is a multidisciplinary research field, faces several challenges, including the integration of imaging informatics with bioinformatics and medical informatics, requirement of reliable and robust image analysis algorithms, effective quality control of imaging facilities, and those related to individualized disease mapping, data sharing, software architecture, and knowledge management. As a cost-effective and open-source approach to address these challenges related to molecular imaging, we develop a flexible, transparent, and secure infrastructure, named MIRA, which stands for Molecular Imaging Repository and Analysis, primarily using the Python programming language, and a MySQL relational database system deployed on a Linux server. MIRA is designed with a centralized image archiving infrastructure and information database so that a multicenter collaborative informatics platform can be built. The capability of dealing with metadata, image file format normalization, and storing and viewing different types of documents and multimedia files make MIRA considerably flexible. With features like logging, auditing, commenting, sharing, and searching, MIRA is useful as an Electronic Laboratory Notebook for effective knowledge management. In addition, the centralized approach for MIRA facilitates on-the-fly access to all its features remotely through any web browser. Furthermore, the open-source approach provides the opportunity for sustainable continued development. MIRA offers an infrastructure that can be used as cross-boundary collaborative MI research platform for the rapid achievement in cancer diagnosis and therapeutics.
- Electronic laboratory notebook (ELN)
- Image analysis
- Knowledge management
- Molecular imaging
- Open source