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Angry Birds Meets Bioinformatics

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Brain cancer cells

This snapshot is the result of using an Imagejs module to determine how fast brain cancer cells are growing. The darks blots are the nuclei of cells dividing as part of the high-speed abnormal growth seen in tumors.

Credit: University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers have developed ImageJS, a free smartphone application system that enables pathologists to drag a digitized pathology slide into a Web app and analyze it for malignancy based on color.

"We created a new kind of computational tool that promises to make patient data more useful where it’s collected," says UAB's Jonas Almeida. Future modules will perform genomics analysis, support cloud computing, and enable doctors to compare their patient's data to similar cases stored in national databases such as the Cancer Atlas, Gene Expression Omnibus, and 1,000 Genomes Project.

Almeida says the potential of ImageJS depends on whether or not pathologists partner with biostatisticians to write modules that add value. He says if that happens, ImageJS could eventually resemble the kind of social coding communities that surround smartphones. Almeida notes that ImageJS is written in JavaScript and features a collection of Web-based algorithms, which give researchers the flexibility to change apps as needed and repeat each other's informatics experiments. He also says ImageJS migrates from the code repository to the browser, which eliminates the risks of travel-related data damage and exposure that violates patient privacy.

From UAB News 
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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