Connect to share and comment

Scientists team up with astronomers to fight cancer

UK researchers worked together to develop an algorithm to find biomarkers that help indicate the aggressiveness of certain tumors.

astronomers cancerEnlarge
UK researchers worked together to develop an algorithm to find biomarkers that help indicate the agressiveness of cancerous tumors. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

Astronomers have teamed up with cancer researchers to help fight the deadly disease.

Researchers at Cambridge University in the UK worked together to develop an algorithm to find biomarkers that help indicate the aggressiveness of certain tumors.

The type of algorithm is normally used for spotting distant galaxies.

The scientist say the teamwork is vital given the inherent similarities between the techniques used by both disciplines, said Medical News Today.

"We've exploited the natural overlap between the techniques astronomers use to analyze deep sky images from the largest telescopes and the need to pinpoint subtle differences in the staining of tumor samples down the microscope," said lead author, Raza Ali, reported Fox News.

More from GlobalPost: Astronomers discover two biggest black holes yet

"The results have been even better than we'd hoped; with our new automated approach performing with accuracy comparable to the time-consuming task of scoring images manually, after only relatively minor adjustments to the formula."

The study looked at more than 2000 breast cancer tumors to measure the levels of three different proteins that act as biomarkers for the aggressiveness of the cancer, reported the Irish Independent.

Each tumor was analyzed using the algorithm, which came to the same conclusions as pathologists 96 percent of the time.

The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/130222/scientists-team-astronomers-fight-cancer