Kolkata, September , 2022.

Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, have launched India’s first fully annotated, relational, de-identified cancer image bank – CHAVI. This first-of-its-kind research partnership between the two premiere institutions in India was inaugurated in Kolkata on the 24th of September. The launch of CHAVI – Comprehensive Archive of Imaging is a towering boost to cancer research in India and will enable scientists from across the world to have free access to de-identified patient images and requisite clinical information that can be utilized for research purposes.

The inauguration also witnessed an enriching discussion chaired by experts including Dr. Arun P, Director Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, Dr Mammen Chandy, Ex-Director Tata Medical Center, Prof Partha Pratim Chakrabarty, Ex-Director and Professor of AI and Computer Sciences, IIT Kharagpur, Prof Jayanta Mukherjee, Dean Outreach of IIT Kharagpur along with the Heads of Departments of ACTREC Mumbai, Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute Lucknow, Christian Medical College Vellore, amongst other specialists in the fields of cancer and artificial intelligence in Medicine. Dr. Sanjoy Chatterjee, Dr. Indranil Mallick, and Dr. Santam Chakrabarty from Tata Medical Center were also present at the launch.

CHAVI is the first imaging biobank exclusively dedicated to oncological imaging from India. The project has been designed as a research collaboration between Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, and IIT Kharagpur, and developed as a part of the National Digital Library of India (NDLI). Its purpose is to develop an image biobank that is available across the country and to foster a foundation for future collaborative research efforts amongst major Indian cancer institutes. The project will encourage researchers, academicians, and industry experts to use the wealth of imaging data available in CHAVI.

Dr. P Arun, Director Tata Medical Center Kolkata said, “Data from digital imaging is critical to patient care, and with today’s technology, it also forms the substrate for future research to improve patient outcomes. It also allows evaluation of the efficacy of current treatment protocols. CHAVI from Tata Medical Center, developed in collaboration with IIT Kharagpur colleagues, gives us the platform to enhance AI-Radiomic research using freely available annotated digital oncological imaging.”

Professor Partha Pratim Chakrabarty, Ex-Director IIT Kharagpur, Prof of Computer Sciences Department IIT Kharagpur said, We envisioned CHAVI as a unique comprehensive digital archive of cancer images allowing complementary information on assisting improvements in patient outcomes. The collaborative work between Tata Medical Center and IIT Kharagpur, commissioned by us has now reached a critical point- the repository has been made functional. This should now allow significant collaboration between institutions across the world. India’s first such free access databank: CHAVI, will allow usage of previously unavailable data from the region, add relevant ethnic diversity in Radiomic research and hopefully complement available OMICS data to improve patient care.”

Professor Jayanta Mukherjee, Dean Outreach IIT Kharagpur and Professor of Computer Sciences Department IIT Kharagpur added, “It is very satisfying to see that the radiological image databank ‘Comprehensive Digital Archive of Cancer Imaging’ (CHAVI), developed under a research collaboration between IIT Kharagpur and Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, operational and available for the researchers in the domain of Medical Imaging and Oncology. In this era of AI and Machine Learning, data is a critical asset for the pursuance of knowledge, and CHAVI will facilitate the researchers with this key component and build a vibrant ecosystem for collaborative research among them.”

Dr Sandeep Verma, Secretary of Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, shared, ‘‘I am very happy to note that the first fully annotated cancer image bank of India – CHAVI, has been developed by Tata Medical Center and IIT Kharagpur. It is really a matter of pride to know of such an advancement. The efforts of Dr Sanjoy Chatterjee, Prof PP Chakrabarty and their team is appreciated for their pioneering work.”

What makes CHAVI unique is the aspect of a unified, relational, vast database of de-identified demographic, clinical, pathological, molecular biological, treatment, and outcome data for all patients. This database is a powerful tool for exploring image sets across cancer sites. This feature allows an interested researcher to potentially interrogate radiological images in a cancer site agonistic fashion. Oncology is a discipline that is heavily dependent on imaging not only for diagnosis but also for therapy and post-therapy follow-up. Through CHAVI, centers across the world can upload images for free to enhance radiomic research and improve collaborative research work, which will help cancer care and will lead the way for innovating better strategies to control cancers.