Imaging software goes mining for cancer

Image-processing software originally developed for spotting undersea mines is now being used to help doctors identify cancer-related cells.

Oct 7th, 2011
An automated image-analysis software toolkit called Farsight (Fluorescence Association Rules for Quantitative Insight) identifies cancer cells based on a subset of examples
An automated image-analysis software toolkit called Farsight (Fluorescence Association Rules for Quantitative Insight) identifies cancer cells based on a subset of examples

Image-processing software originally developed for spotting undersea mines is now being used to help doctors identify cancer-related cells.

When examining tissue samples, doctors must sift through hundreds of microscopic images containing millions of cells. To pinpoint specific cells of interest, they use an automated image-analysis software toolkit called Farsight (Fluorescence Association Rules for Quantitative Insight). The software identifies cells based on a subset of examples initially labeled by a physician.

But by incorporating software for finding mines in images that was developed by Duke University professor Larry Carin -- thanks to Office of Naval Research (ONR; Arlington, VA, USA) funding -- the identification of cells is more accurate and Farsight’s performance is more consistent.

A medical team at the University of Pennsylvania is already applying the ONR algorithms embedded into Farsight to examine tumors from kidney cancer patients.

They have demonstrated that the software combination can pick out all the endothelial cells that form the blood vessels supplying tumors with oxygen and nutrients in 100 images in just a few hours.

-- Posted by Vision Systems Design

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