Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mine-hunting software helping doctors to identify rare cells in human cancer

Date:
October 7, 2011
Source:
Office of Naval Research
Summary:
Medical researchers are demonstrating new software developed for finding and recognizing undersea mines can help doctors identify cancer-related cells. The problem that physicians encounter in analyzing human cell images is similar to the Navy's challenge of finding undersea mines. Doctors must sift through hundreds of microscopic images containing millions of cells. To pinpoint specific cells, they use automated image analysis software called FARSIGHT, or Fluorescence Association Rules for Quantitative Insight.

Screenshot of human kidney cancer speciment enhanced from FARSIGHT software.
Credit: Image courtesy of Office of Naval Research

Medical researchers are demonstrating that Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded software developed for finding and recognizing undersea mines can help doctors identify and classify cancer-related cells.

Related Articles


"The results are spectacular," said Dr. Larry Carin, professor at Duke University and developer of the technology. "This could be a game-changer for medical research."

The problem that physicians encounter in analyzing images of human cells is surprisingly similar to the Navy's challenge of finding undersea mines.

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, or Fluorescence Association Rules for Quantitative Insight. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), FARSIGHT identifies cells based upon a subset of examples initially labeled by a physician. But the resulting classifications can be erroneous because the computer applies tags based on the small sampling.

By adding ONR's active learning software algorithms, the identification of cells is more accurate and FARSIGHT's performance more consistent, researchers said. The enhanced toolkit also requires physicians to label fewer cell samples because the algorithm automatically selects the best set of examples to teach the software.

"This is not a typical Navy transition," said Carin. "But it is a transition to a very important medical tool used literally at hospitals around the world. There is a real chance this may save lives in the future."

A medical team at the University of Pennsylvania is applying the ONR algorithms, embedded into FARSIGHT, to examine tumors from kidney cancer patients. Focusing on endothelial cells that form the blood vessels that supply the tumors with oxygen and nutrients, the research could one day improve drug treatments for different types of kidney cancer, also known as renal cell carcinoma.

"With the computer program having learned to pick out an endothelial cell, we have now automated this process, and it seems to be highly accurate," said Dr. William Lee, an associate professor of medicine, hematology and oncology at the university who is leading the research effort. "We can begin to study the endothelial cells of human cancer -- something that is not being done because it's so difficult and time-consuming to do."

It usually takes days, even weeks, for a pathologist to manually pick out all the endothelial cells in 100 images. The enhanced FARSIGHT toolkit can accomplish the same feat in a few hours with human accuracy.

"This is an important NIH-funded clinical study that we're supporting with FARSIGHT, and Dr. Carin's active learning system has been a great success," said Dr. Badri Roysam, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Houston and program investigator for FARSIGHT.

ONR's active learning software was originally developed to allow robotic mine-hunting systems to behave more like humans when they are uncertain about how to classify an object. Using information theory, the software asks a human to provide labels for those items. This feature is valuable in mine warfare, where identifying unknown objects beneath the ocean has been accomplished traditionally by sending in divers.

"This is dangerous and is exactly what we're trying to eliminate," said Dr. Jason Stack, the program officer at ONR who funded Carin's research. "Developing unmanned systems that are not only autonomous but can also continuously learn from the warfighters employing them is core to our strategy. It speeds up mine countermeasures and helps get the man out of the minefield."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Office of Naval Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Office of Naval Research. "Mine-hunting software helping doctors to identify rare cells in human cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006153342.htm>.
Office of Naval Research. (2011, October 7). Mine-hunting software helping doctors to identify rare cells in human cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006153342.htm
Office of Naval Research. "Mine-hunting software helping doctors to identify rare cells in human cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006153342.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins