San Antonio team creates computer algorithm that can detect breast cancer cells


    Description: Breast Cancer Challege Date photographed: 02-06-2019 Charge number: GNA67.101 Publication: News Release Contact name: Photographed by: Ian McKinney Department name: Communications Division: (67)

    Engineers and breast cancer experts here in San Antonio teamed up to teach computers how to detect breast cancer tumor cells and their research has gained the attention of the international medical community.

    The result? A computer algorithm that can detect breast cancer tumor cells by simply analyzing cell images. It's technology that already exists and has been used automotive, robotics and defense applications.

    Engineers that created the computer algorithm say it can analyze cell images, looking for characteristics that distinguish the cancerous cells from normal ones, a method that is usually done manually and relies on the expertise of the pathologist reading the images.

    The completed work, which was carried out by engineers at the Southwest Research Institute and pathologists from UT Health San Antonio, impressed national and international experts and placed first in an international challenge to develop an automated method to detect breast cancer cells.

    "Adapting an autonomous robotics algorithm to solve a health diagnostics problem shows that we really have state-of-the-art techniques," said Hakima Ibaroudene, SwRI engineer and challenge leader, in a statement. "Our method has the potential to improve medical imaging, ultimately bolstering healthcare for cancer patients."

    The researchers who teamed up on the project will present their winning algorithm at the 2019 SPIE Medical Imaging Conference in San Diego later this month.

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