February 23, 2024

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Machine Learning and Imaging to Boost Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Biomechanics for Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Researchers at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) and the Department of Engineering Science are combining machine learning and state-of-the-art imaging to develop an automated analysis technique that will radically improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

As reported, researchers from New Zealand’s University of Auckland have received NZ$ 1.05 million in philanthropic funding to advance research, in which they have developed biomechanical analysis techniques that automatically merges information from different medical images of the breast.

Benefits

This will provide clinicians with more information about any abnormality, as suspicious lesions and warning signs for cancer can appear differently in the various types of images.

An example of how it can help is by co-locating abnormalities like micro-calcifications with regions of increased blood supply identified using MRI and which can also indicate tumour growth.

Micro-calcifications are tiny and hard-to-detect features visible on x-ray mammograms indicative of early stages breast cancer.

The Problem

One of the key issues with merging information from current medical imaging technologies is that they scan the breast in different positions.

In an X-ray mammogram, which is the gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer, a patient is standing and the breast is compressed between two plates.

If she is referred for ultrasound imaging, the image is taken while the patient lies on her back. In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the images are taken typically with the patient lying on her stomach.

As the breast is a soft organ that changes shape according to the position in which it is held, cancerous lesions can move around in response to the external loads.

This can make it difficult for clinicians, surgeons and radiologists to identify the exact region that needs further investigation or treatment.

After a mammogram, follow-up imaging known as ‘second look ultrasound’ can involve clinicians spending up to an hour, just trying to find, with some degree of certainty, the same piece of abnormal tissue that they spotted on a mammogram.

The Solution

The use of biomechanics will predict the movements of those suspicious tissues. Thus, when a person is lying on her back, such as during surgery, the surgeon can be provided with a much better idea as to where to find the suspicious lesion.

Part of the challenge has been identifying the different biomechanical properties of the different types of breast tissues in order to account for the individuality of each patient.

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and the mechanical properties of the tissues vary from person to person.  The challenge is to create realistically, individual specific models.

The team has been able to draw on 200 scans, with patient permission, provided by the Auckland District Health Board.

The success of their research can be attributed to a long collaboration with an MRI expert at Auckland City Hospital.

The expert shared that the researchers have made enormous progress in developing methods for analysis and mathematical modelling of breast tissue.

It has been a long-standing, close, and mutually beneficial collaboration, in which clinicians are learning more about mathematical modelling, and the bioengineering researchers are learning more about the real world challenges facing clinicians working with breast cancer.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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