“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.”About the Office of Naval Research
Peter Vietti | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy