Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Molecular & Clinical Diagnostics
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

Join For Free

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 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ 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

Tumour Cells Could Predict Cancer Spread
Researchers discover a group of circulating tumour cells in cancer patient blood samples that are linked to cancer spread.
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Opening Door to Oesophageal Cancer Targeted Treatments
Scientists have discovered that oesophageal cancer can be classified into three different subtypes.
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Cancer Research UK joins forces with U.S. 'Cancer Moonshot'
Cancer Research UK and the US government’s National Cancer Institute have announced that two teams will work together to radically accelerate progress against cancer, in one of the first international collaborations inspired by US Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot.
Monday, July 04, 2016
‘Liquid Biopsies’ Could Help Spot Genetic Faults in Lung Cancer
Study analyze blood samples from 97 patients who took part in the EURTAC clinical trial.
Saturday, March 07, 2015
Cancer Cell Fingerprints in the Blood May Speed up Childhood Cancer Diagnosis
Researchers found unique molecular fingerprints for 11 types of children’s tumours, to develop blood tests to diagnose these cancers.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
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
Scientific News
Accelerating the Detection of Foodborne Bacterial Outbreaks
The speed of diagnosis of foodborne bacterial outbreaks could be improved by a new technique developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Cancer Gene Predicts Treatment Response in Leukaemia
Study indicates the patients suffering from a lethal for of acute myeloid leukemia may live longer when receiving milder chemotherapy drugs.
New Diagnostic Tool for Familial Mediterranean Fever
A new tool developed by researchers at VIB and Ghent University could improve the process of diagnosing Familial Mediterranean Fever.
'Lab on the Skin' for Sweat Analysis
Northwestern University researchers develop a low-cost wearable electronic device that collects and analyzes sweat for health monitoring.
Molecular Signature for Aggressive Brain Tumor Uncovered
Researchers have identified genetic mutations in a highly agressive brain cancer that distinguishes the agressive, from the benign forms of the cancer.
Malaria Parasite Evades Rapid Test Detection in Children
A study at the University of North Carolina found that gene deletion poses a threat to Malaria eradication efforts.
Novel Urine Test to Predict High-Risk Cervical Cancer
Preliminary studies affirm accuracy and potential cost savings to screen for virus-caused malignancy.
GFC Diagnostics Wins Longitude Prize Discovery Award
The global award was won for the development of a cheap, quick and simple MRSA Test.
Understanding Circulating Tumour Cells
Research team develops new tool to track traveling cancer cells in the bloodstream.
Blood Glucose Monitoring Device for Diabetes
Novel breathalyzer offers alternative to finger stick testing for people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
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
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!