CERN Accelerating science

European Organization for Nuclear Research




Medical conditions such as breast cancer, and mammograms as images, are extremely complex with many dimensions of variability across the population. The European federated MAMMOgram database implemented on a GRID structure – MammoGrid - is an application of Grid technology with the aim to develop an European-wide database of mammograms and to support effective co-working between EU healthcare professionals. The MammoGrid project, now completed, was funded under the 5th European Framework Programme and lasted from 2002 to 2005. The objectives of the project were to use novel Grid-compliant and Federated-DB technologies to provide improved access to distributed data, and develop software tools to, inter alia, enable comparison of mammograms, automatically extract image information, and automatically extract tissue information.
At CERN, this technology was used for:

  • MWSenables query and image retrieval.
  • Computer Aided Detection of opacities and microcalcifications to assist analysis of images.
  • Standard Mammogram Format (SMF) which enables standardization of images and hence their comparison.
  • MAS is used to acquire images from digital mammographers and scanners in hospitals, and to associate and store data with images on the Grid.

Area of expertise

Information Technology


  • Medical image analysis is moving beyond diagnosis to monitor disease progression and therapy.
  • Sharing mammograms, medical information and expertise on a European-wide scale using the GRID technologies.
  • The architectural infrastructure is not limited to mammograms or cancer diagnostic. The only specialisation to mammography is image normalisation SMF, and the knowledge embodied in programs about masses, breast dense tissue and microcalcifications.

Innovative features

  • Persistency for data models and meta-data models to handle heterogeneity.
  • Practical use of the Grid in hospitals.
  • Distributed and federated clinical data management system.
  • Secure system to be integrated into hospital's information systems.
  • Annotation of mammograms.


  • Mammograms database containing over 30'000 images.
  • Use of the Grid in developing screening.


  • Remote sharing of diagnoses and second opinion between clinicians.
  • More diverse epidemiology.
  • SMF improves mammogram images quality.
  • Statistically significant numbers of examinations and conditions.
  • Structured clinician's reports.
  • Potential knowledge in the early diagnosis and understanding of breast cancer development and treatment.

Intellectual Property status

  • Proof of concept prototype completed.
  • Grid boxes set up and used by clinicians at hospitals in Cambridge (UK) and Udine (Italy).
  • Private company from Spain is aiming at developing a commercial product.

Contact person

Download material

PDF icon MammoGrid.pdf232.66 KB