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Getting tough on tumours

A new system that uses the latest technology to identify brain tumours and helps in finding the right strategy to eliminate them before they get out of hand is now in the making.


Catching brain tumours early on could mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of people. The EU-funded project ETUMOUR developed technology to achieve earlier diagnosis. It created an online decision support system (DSS) with genetic brain tumour data and anonymous imaging of patient cases. This initiative was aimed at supporting medical decisions involved in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options by analysing molecular images of brain tumours and exploiting cutting-edge clinical information. With this in mind, ETUMOUR defined data sets necessary for the technology and fine-tuned new imaging techniques, including tissue analysis by high-resolution magic angle spinning spectroscopy (HRMAS) and DNA microarrays. The project also developed a detailed graphic user interface as well as a sophisticated mechanism to upload and download relevant information from the Internet. The database features biological and clinical data of almost 2,000 patients, supplying the global medical community with a wealth of useful knowledge. Another important system feature involves new pattern recognition methods applicable to brain tumours in both adults and children, combining as well several data sets and imaging techniques if needed. All these features and mechanisms in addition to many others have been presented in a user-friendly, computer-aided design software that could take tumour diagnosis and prognosis to new heights.

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