A university researcher has been given a prestigious award for her pioneering work on the production of a computer algorithm to precisely pinpoint the location and size of cancerous tumours in the human body.
Dr Beatrice Berthon, from the School of Medicine, has been awarded the Manufacturers' Award for Innovation from the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine for her part in developing Automatic decision Tree Learning Algorithm for Advanced Segmentation (ATLAAS).
ATLAAS has been developed to optimise cancer therapy by allowing clinicians to more accurately target tumours with radiation, whilst sparing the surrounding healthy organs. The method works by training a computer to automatically identify regions of high metabolic activity in cancer tissues, which have been scanned using Positron Emission Tomography.
By allowing a computer to automatically detect the cancerous regions of tissue and reconstruct the actual volume of the tumour, ATLAAS removes the need for a large number of scans to be manually analysed by clinicians, which can be time consuming and is also prone to inter-observer variability.
ATLAAS is the result of a four-year project carried out by Cardiff University researchers and Velindre NHS trust, and funded as part of the POSITIVE project through two consecutive grants from Cancer Research Wales.
Dr Berthon said: “I am thrilled to have been awarded this prize, and very grateful to the IPEM for the recognition of our work. It has been a great opportunity to work on this project, thanks to Cancer Research Wales and all the colleagues involved, and it is fantastic to see the interest that it has triggered. I am very proud of this achievement and hope that it can be translated into many future applications benefiting patients.”