A team of European researchers lead by Carles Arús, professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, have developed a system that facilitates the interpretation of magnetic resonance spectra of brain tumours and improves their diagnosis. It is a computer-based tool that visually classifies the different types of tumours. The new system has significantly improved the reliability of the diagnosis in preliminary tests with 16 patients.
There are 50 different types and grades of malignant tumours. The malignancy of each type of tumour is what determines if and what type of therapy is the best one to carry out. Radiologists use images of the brain, obtained by different exploratory techniques, to diagnose the type of tumour as well as using magnetic resonance (MR) spectra of the tumour. These spectra are curves with different patterns, which are associated with the abundance of the different chemical substances in its composition. Explorations with images obtained from MR have an average reliability for diagnosing a type of tumour of between 75 and 80%. The only alternative currently available to increase this reliability is the biopsy with the consequent risks that are involved with that type of intervention.
Carles Arús, professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, lead a team of researchers from various European institutions in carrying out the European project called, INTERPRET (International Network for Pattern Recognition of Tumours Using Magnetic Resonance). The scientists have developed a computer-based system that classifies on the screen, in a visual manner, different types of tumours according to their magnetic resonance spectra. The system is very flexible with the origin and technical characteristics of the spectra, which makes it quite useful in cases in which the MR spectra were obtained from different apparatus or from different clinics.
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