Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Pharma Outsourcing
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Astronomy Algorithms Help Diagnose Aggressive Tumors

Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists have honed techniques originally developed to spot distant galaxies and used them to identify biomarkers that signal a cancer’s aggressiveness among some 2,000 breast tumours.

The findings mean that the age-old practice of pathologists looking down the microscope to spot key differences in the staining of tumour samples could one day become a thing of the past.

To develop this new automated approach the researchers, from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, and the Department of Oncology and the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, adapted techniques used by astronomers to automatically pick out indistinct objects in the night sky.

They applied these to immunohistochemistry (IHC), which relies on pathologists being able to distinguish subtle differences in the staining of tumour cells down the microscope, depending on the specific proteins they express.

To road test the new approach they used it to measure the levels of three different proteins linked to more aggressive cancers, across tumour samples from more than 2,000 breast cancer patients.

They compared the accuracy of manually scoring these results, by observing the staining of the tumour samples down the microscope, versus relying on a computer to do this automatically. This showed that the new automated system was at least as accurate as the manual one, whilst at the same time being many times faster.

Study lead author Dr Raza Ali, a pathology fellow from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute at the University of Cambridge, said: “We’ve exploited the natural overlap between the techniques astronomers use to analyse deep sky images from the largest telescopes and the need to pinpoint subtle differences in the staining of tumour samples down the microscope.

“The results have been even better than we’d hoped, with our new automated approach performing with accuracy comparable to the time-consuming task of scoring images manually, after only relatively minor adjustments to the formula. We’re now planning a larger international study involving samples from more than 20,000 breast cancer patients to further refine our strategy.”

Senior author Professor Carlos Caldas, also from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute at the University of Cambridge, added:  “Modern techniques are giving us some of the first insights into the key genes and proteins important in predicting the success or failure of different cancer treatments. But before these can be applied in the clinic, their usefulness needs to be verified in hundreds or sometimes thousands of tumour samples. Already this new automated approach means we can now analyse up to 4,000 images a day, helping streamline the process of translating these discoveries into the clinic.”

Dr Nicholas Walton, from Cambridge University’s Institute of Astronomy, said: “It’s great that our image analysis software, which was originally developed to help, for instance, track down planets harbouring life outside of our Solar system, is now also being used to help improve the outlook for cancer patients, much closer to home.”

Dr Julie Sharp, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “This unlikely collaboration between astronomers and cancer researchers is a prime example of how, by working together, scientists from different disciplines can bring about innovative new solutions for beating cancer.”


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research Technology And Asterias Biotherapeutics Partner
Partnership Developed to Trial Immunotherapy Vaccine For Lung Cancer
Friday, September 12, 2014
Cancer Research UK, AZ and Pfizer Partner to Advance Lung Cancer Treatment
Partnership creates a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer, marking a new era of research into personalised medicines to treat cancer.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Final Results from the Phase III TeloVac Trial in Pancreatic Cancer
Results from the trial showed no significant difference in overall survival between the groups that received the vaccine and the control group receiving chemotherapy.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Drug Developed in U.K. to Treat Solid Tumors
Cancer Research U.K.'s Drug Development Office; Cancer Research Technology, and Lorus Therapeutics Inc. have partnered to take a new therapy with the potential to treat solid tumors into its first clinical trial.
Friday, November 30, 2012
Scientists Find New Drug Target for Hard-to-Treat Leukaemia
Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered a promising new approach to treat a type of myeloid leukaemia – a cancer with limited treatment options and relatively poor survival.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Cancer Research UK Launches Medicine Manufacturing Hub for Life-Saving Research
New £18 million drug manufacturing facility will make experimental medicine and antibodies to target cancer cells.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
immatics Enters Collaboration with Cancer Research UK to Develop Cancer Vaccine
Cancer Research UK will sponsor and conduct a Phase I trial of IMA950 for glioblastoma.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Immatics Enters Collaboration with Cancer Research UK to Develop Multi-target Rationally Designed Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine
IMA950 to enter Phase I development for glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Scientific News
Young South African Women can Adhere to Daily PrEP Regimen as HIV Prevention
NIH-funded study finds men in Bangkok, Harlem also successful in taking daily dose.
Researchers Find Key Player in Diabetic Kidney Disease Through Power of Metabolomics
Discovery could lead to new and better diagnostic marker for chronic kidney disease.
Immunotherapy Shows Promise for Myeloma
A strategy, which uses patients’ own immune cells, genetically engineered to target tumors, has shown significant success against multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that is largely incurable.
Santhera Announces First Patient Dosing with Omigapil in CMD
Company announces full patient recruitment of CALLISTO study.
Study Shows Promise of Precision Medicine for Most Common Type of Lymphoma
The study appeared online July 20, 2015, in Nature Medicine.
HIV Control Through Treatment Durably Prevents Heterosexual Transmission of Virus
NIH-funded trial proves suppressive antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people effective in protecting uninfected partners.
Adaptimmune's Novel Cancer Therapeutics Show Positive Clinical Trial Results
The company has announced that positive data from its Phase I/II study of its affinity enhanced T-cell receptor (TCR) therapeutic targeting the NY-ESO-1 cancer antigen in patients with multiple myeloma has been published.
Early Antiretroviral Therapy Prevents Non-AIDS Outcomes in HIV-infected People
NIH-supported findings illustrate manifold benefit of therapy.
Adaptimmune’s NY-ESO-1 TCR-engineered T-Cells Demonstrate Durable Persistence
Study has been published in Nature Medicine.
First Made-in-Singapore Cancer Drug Enters Clinical Testing
The drug prevents cancer progression and paves the way for new advancements in cancer therapeutics.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!