Advanced Imaging

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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Scientific Imaging Explores Many Worlds

Features

Fruit Fly Embryo
SUNY and AccuSoft Corp.
A fruit fly embryo. The study of these embryos is meant to study animal development.
Nuclei
Segmentation performed on nuclei.
Gene Expression Data
Rosetta Inpharmatics and Mathworks
This is an image of a 2-D clustering of DNA microarray gene expression data from breast cancer samples. Red indicates overexpression; green indicate underexpression. Patients with the expression pattern similar to the top of the plot generally have a poor outcome.
First-Degree Burn
Canada’s Institute for Biodiagnostics and The MathWorks
This is an image of a first-degree burn, generated in three wavelengths from a spectroscopic camera.
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"To understand the practical problems the world faces, we first need to comprehend the underlying, purely scientific problems," Hill said.

Medical Uses

Rosetta Inpharmatics (Seattle, WA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ), in collaboration with the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI, Amsterdam), is developing a tool that enables clinicians to determine a breast cancer patient's prognosis. The progrnosis is based on the gene expression profile of the primary tumor.

According to Dr. Hongyue Dai, director of custom analysis, it is difficult to determine the best course of treatment for a patient with breast cancer. Patients at the same stage of the disease and receiving the same treatment can have markedly different outcomes. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy reduce the risk of distant metastases by about one third, but studies show that 70 to 80 percent of patients receiving this treatment would have survived without it, says Dai.

Dai and his colleagues were asked to develop a tool that would enable cancer researchers to determine which genes in breast cancer patients were strong predictors of future metastases. To do this, they used The MathWorks' MATLAB Tools products. The software coupled statistics capabilities with the ability to handle large data sets rapidly.

NKI researchers collaborating with the Rosetta team followed the progress of a group of 117 patients for more than five years. They examined the original DNA samples of patients who had a poor outcome in order to identify genes whose expression level was associated with that result.


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