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Visualisation software to aid prostate cancer detection

Visualisation specialists See3D, a spin off company of the University of Aberystwyth, is developing unique, sophisticated computer-generated models that will help doctors to improve the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

More than 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK alone – and approximately 10,000 deaths per year are associated with this form of cancer.

The sooner prostate cancer is diagnosed the better a patient’s chances of rapid recovery will be. However, the development of prostate cancer at an early stage is often very difficult to diagnose, depending on where the cancer is located.

See3D’s visualisation project, commissioned by medical imaging software company Oncomorph Analysis Limited, established by the University of Aberystwyth and Exomedica Ltd., will over the next two years, identify smaller cancerous regions of the prostate that are currently undetectable to doctors by the rapid processing of numerical data. Doctors can then use this information to aid diagnosis and, subsequently, treatment.

Doctors have three treatment options once prostate cancer has been diagnosed: to remove the prostate, to deliver chemotherapy and radiology, or, if the cancer is too advanced, then a ‘wait and see’ approach is taken. The visualisation software developed during the Oncomorph Analysis project will also be used for treatment planning, as it will enable doctors to investigate the development of the cancer and thus determine the best treatment option.

Dr Reyer Zwiggelaar, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Aberystwyth and Chief Scientific Officer of Oncomorph Analysis – who is leading the project with the See3D team, said: “Once developed, this software application will be unique in the world. From our collaborative work with hospitals in Norwich and Swansea we know that our software analysis and visualisation programme will make a real difference to the important work of doctors in combating cancer by enabling them to diagnose cases earlier and improve patients’ chances of recovery.”

Dr. Mark Fisher, Chairman of Oncomorph Analysis, said “We are pleased to be working with See3D and their team of experienced software engineers. Product development, with See3D’s help, will produce a truly enabling tool for medical device manufacturers and the end user – the doctor.”

David Neill, Director of See3D, said: “We are exteremly grateful to Oncomorph Analysis for funding this important project. It will allow us to play a major role in helping to tackle the detection of prostate cancer, which has become one of the biggest killers for men. Our advanced computer modelling equipment can provide great insights for the healthcare sector, along with other sectors such as renewable energy, heritage and construction where we are already operating.”

Hannah Murray | alfa
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