Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
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 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,400+ 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

Halting Skin Cancer Drug Resistance
An HIV drug could stop one of the early changes in skin cancer cells that leads to them becoming resistant to treatment, according to a Cancer Research UK-funded study.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Cancer Cells Kill Off Healthy Neighbours
Cancer cells create space to grow by killing off surrounding healthy cells, according to UK researchers working with fruit flies.
Friday, February 05, 2016
Biggest Database for Cancer Drug Discovery Goes 3D
The world’s largest database for cancer drug discovery has been revolutionised by adding 3D structures of faulty proteins and maps of cancer’s communication networks, according to Cancer Research UK-funded research published in Nucleic Acid Research.
Monday, January 04, 2016
Spreading Cancer Cells Must Change Their Environment to Grow
Spreading cancer cells arriving in a new part of the body must be able to change their new environment to continue to grow, according to a study by Cancer Research UK scientists at the Francis Crick Institute.
Monday, December 07, 2015
Scientists Discover How Cells Overpower Cancer Drug
Cancer Research UK scientists have found how cells adapt to overcome cancer drugs designed to interfere with their genetic controls, according to a recently published study.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Cancer Research UK Team with MedImmune on Biotherapeutics Research Centre
A new laboratory that will focus on the discovery and development of novel biologic cancer treatments and diagnostics has been opened this week in Cambridge by life sciences minister George Freeman MP.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Aspirin Could Hold the Key to Supercharged Cancer Immunotherapy
Giving cancer patients aspirin at the same time as immunotherapy could dramatically boost the effectiveness of the treatment, according to new research.
Monday, September 07, 2015
Combining Chemotherapy With Immune-Blocking Drug Could Stop Cancer Growing Back
Giving patients a drug that blocks part of the immune system from going into overdrive might help prevent cancer coming back in some people.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Genetic Chaos in Tumours Could Help Predict Chemo Response
Researchers have shown how the level of genetic chaos in tumours could help predict patients’ response to chemotherapy according to new research.
Friday, August 07, 2015
Childhood Cancer Cells Drain Immune System’s Batteries
Cancer cells in neuroblastoma contain a molecule that breaks down a key energy source for the body’s immune cells, leaving them too physically drained to fight the disease.
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
‘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
New Companies Join Cancer Research UK Consortium
Three new biomarker companies have been selected to work with the Early Diagnosis Consortium, a collaboration between Cancer Research UK, its commercial arm, Cancer Research Technology and Abcodia.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Why Bowel Cancer Sometimes Outsmarts Treatment
New study challenges the prevailing view of how bowel cancer develops in the large intestine.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
CRUK and AstraZeneca Collaborate
Cancer Research UK to collaborate with AstraZeneca in screening for new cancer medicines at the AstraZeneca MRC UK Centre for Lead Discovery.
Friday, November 28, 2014
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
Scientific News
Flowering Regulation Mechanism Discovered
Monash researchers have discovered a new mechanism that enables plants to regulate their flowering in response to raised temperatures.
Turning Skin Cells into Heart, Brain Cells
In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals.
Nanoparticles Present Sustainable Way to Grow Food Crops
Nanoparticle technology can help reduce the need for fertilizer, creating a more sustainable way to grow crops such as mung beans.
How Scientists Use DNA to Track Disease Outbreaks
They’re the top questions on everyone’s mind when a new disease outbreak happens: where did the virus come from? When did this happen? How long has it been spreading in a particular country or group of people?
Genetic Risk Factors of Disparate Diseases Share Similar Biological Underpinnings
Penn Institute for Biomedical Informatics and colleagues identify "roadmap" of disease mechanisms to identify candidate drug targets.
Drugs that May Combat Deadly Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Uncovered
Study identifies 79 compounds that inhibit carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
Stem Cells Know How to Unwind
Research led by the Babraham Institute with collaborators in the UK, Canada and Japan has revealed a new understanding of how an open genome structure supports the long-term and unrestricted developmental potential in embryonic stem cells.
HIV Particles Used to Trap Intact Mammalian Protein Complexes
Belgian scientists from VIB and UGent developed Virotrap, a viral particle sorting approach for purifying protein complexes under native conditions.
Childhood Asthma Research Receives $2M
Research into the impact of a child’s upbringing and social and physical environments on the development of asthma will receive $2 million to tackle the condition that affects as many as one in three Canadians.
Growing Stem Cells More Safely
Nurturing stem cells atop a bed of mouse cells works well, but is a non-starter for transplants to patients – Brown University scientists are developing a synthetic bed instead.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,400+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!