February 28, 2024

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NTU Singapore Revolutionising Cancer Care

In a significant breakthrough, a team of researchers led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), has unveiled a pioneering computer programme designed to identify potential breast tumours at an early stage. Named Physics-informed Neural Network (PINN), this innovative programme leverages the unique heat distribution patterns exhibited by malignant breast tumours compared to healthy breast tissue.

Image credits: Nanyang Technological University

Developed in collaboration with medical professionals from Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan and with input from breast imaging specialists in Singapore, PINN represents a fusion of artificial intelligence (AI) and heat-imaging technology.

By analysing thermal infrared images of breast tissue, PINN can swiftly flag any possible malignant tumours within just five minutes of examination. The programme’s development involved calibrating it with infrared breast scans from thousands of patients in Kazakhstan, both with and without malignant breast tumours.

PINN has shown promising results in accurately identifying harmful tumours, boasting an impressive 91% accuracy rate when tested on hundreds of infrared images of breasts with malignant tumours. This development comes as a significant boon in the fight against breast cancer, which stands as the most common cancer among women globally. Given the challenges associated with traditional detection methods like mammography, which include cost and availability constraints, PINN offers a non-invasive and painless alternative.

The programme’s methodology involves using an infrared camera to capture breast images from various angles, which are then subjected to computer analysis. Unlike mammograms, which expose patients to ionising radiation during the procedure, PINN’s heat-imaging technology provides a safer option, particularly for women at higher risk of breast cancer or those with a family history of the disease.

However, the researchers emphasise that PINN is not intended to replace existing diagnostic methods but rather to complement them. It serves as a valuable tool for early detection, aiding healthcare professionals in prioritising complex cases and contributing to better treatment outcomes.

Moreover, ongoing research aims to further enhance PINN’s capabilities, with the ultimate goal of developing it into a portable AI tool for routine breast examinations. This ambitious endeavour has the potential to revolutionise early breast cancer detection, offering a more accessible and efficient screening solution for women worldwide.

In another cancer-related development spearheaded by NTU Singapore, researchers have introduced a cutting-edge method for treating glioblastoma, the most prevalent form of brain cancer, employing a significantly reduced dose of X-rays.

This innovative radiodynamic therapy, leveraging a novel compound called a molecular radio afterglow dynamic probe (MRAP), demonstrates promising outcomes in restraining brain tumour growth with minimal side effects, potentially transforming the landscape of brain cancer treatment.

Glioblastoma, affecting over 300,000 individuals globally annually, presents a formidable challenge due to the limited efficacy of conventional radiation therapies. While radiodynamic therapy offers a promising alternative, the heavy metals in existing compounds often lead to unintended damage to healthy cells.

OpenGov Asia also reported that an international team of researchers from NTU has unveiled a revolutionary flexible electrode, inspired by the remarkable properties of spider silk. This innovative electrode is designed to conform to muscles, nerves, and even the heart, exhibiting superior performance in electrical stimulation and signal recording compared to conventional stretchable electrodes.

Crafted from a material that contracts in response to moisture, this flexible electrode can seamlessly mould around tissues and organs, offering unparalleled adaptability and precision. The material, engineered into a thin film through repeated stretching, mirrors the intricate structure of spider silk, providing both flexibility and strength.

This cutting-edge technology holds immense promise for biomedical applications, with potential implications for areas such as irregular heartbeat monitoring, nerve repair, wound closure, and scar reduction.

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. 

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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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