The MI3C will be housed on the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, MN, and will bring together clinicians, researchers and third-party equipment vendors. Technology transfer is key to the venture - specifically, the clinical application of IBM's know-how on the fundamental algorithms that drive medical imaging informatics and hardware.

Bradley Erickson, head of Mayo's radiology informatics laboratory, noted: "The MI3C gives us the opportunity to develop computationally intensive solutions for diagnostic problems we see every day, but that we at Mayo could not attempt to resolve on our own."

A full-time team of Mayo and IBM R&D staff will address a long list of projects, including:

• Maximum-resolution organ imaging to provide physical (phenotype) information that parallels the current level of genetic detail available for the same tissue.

• Image-guided tumour ablation to pinpoint and maximize efficiency of heat-transfer probes used to destroy cancer tumours.

• "Video swallow analysis" to see and compare how stroke patients swallow in order to better determine the severity of their disability.

• Automated change detection and analysis to allow physicians to compare a new image with a previous one, eliminate what has not changed and to better assess what change has occurred.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical centre that conducts wide-ranging, interdisciplinary research at its Rochester facility and at campuses in Arizona and Florida.