Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers turn to machines to identify breast cancer type

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
A team of researchers have developed a new technique to determine if tumors are fed by estrogen.

Researchers from the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services have created a computer algorithm that successfully predicts whether estrogen is sending signals to cancer cells to grow into tumours in the breast. By finding this hormone receptor, known as estrogen receptor positive, physicians can prescribe anti-estrogen drug therapies, improving patient outcomes.

Since each cell in the body contains 23,000 genes, identifying the specific genes involved in cancer growth is an exceedingly complex task. Researchers used a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning to identify three genes that allowed them to determine whether a tumour was fed by estrogen.

"People can't possibly sort through all this information and find the important patterns," said senior author Russ Greiner, a professor in the Department of Computing Science and investigator with the Alberta Innovates Centre for Machine Learning. "Machines have other limitations, but what they can do is go through high-dimensional data. With our techniques, we can find combinations of biomarkers that can predict important properties of specific breast cancers."

Greiner's team created an algorithm that proved 93 per cent accurate in predicting the estrogen receptor status of tumours. To do this, they relied on data gathered from 176 frozen tumour samples stored at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Tumor Bank at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

The same algorithm was later tested on other data sets available online, with similar success. The results were cross-checked with existing tests done by pathologists using traditional estrogen-receptor testing.

"Essentially, we've identified something inexpensive and simple that could replace receptor testing done in a clinical lab," said co-author John Mackey, director of Cross Cancer Institute Clinical Trials Unit, Alberta Health Services. "This is a new way of sifting through thousands of signals and pulling out the wheat from the chaff. In principle, this could be applied to other biomarkers and distil data down into something that a clinician can use."

Mackey, who is also a professor of medical oncology with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, said the technique is poised to take advantage of new gene-sequencing technologies, or genomics, which aims to understand the inner workings of cancer cells with a goal of tailoring treatments for individual patients.

It's still premature to consider the algorithm as a replacement for traditional lab tests, but that could change as new technologies become more affordable, perhaps in five to eight years.

"We're not there yet, but at some point it's going to be cheaper to take a tumour and put it into the machine and get these thousands of signals about its biology than it is to do the increasing number of required tests using traditional techniques in a lab," Mackey said. "When those two lines intersect, we're going to switch to using the new technologies, and we will need algorithms like this to make sense of the data."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. The original article was written by Bryan Alary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Meysam Bastani, Larissa Vos, Nasimeh Asgarian, Jean Deschenes, Kathryn Graham, John Mackey, Russell Greiner. A Machine Learned Classifier That Uses Gene Expression Data to Accurately Predict Estrogen Receptor Status. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (12): e82144 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082144

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Researchers turn to machines to identify breast cancer type." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202171924.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2013, December 2). Researchers turn to machines to identify breast cancer type. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202171924.htm
University of Alberta. "Researchers turn to machines to identify breast cancer type." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202171924.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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