How a sky mapping analysis tool developed for astronomy helps predicting cancer therapy responses

Immunohistochemical stains for individual markers revolutionized diagnostic pathology decades ago but cannot capture enough information to accurately predict response to immunotherapy. Newer multiplex immunofluorescent technologies provide the potential to visualize the expression patterns of many functionally relevant molecules but present numerous challenges in accurate image analysis and data handling, particularly over large tumor areas. Drawing from the field of astronomy, in which petabytes of imaging data are routinely analyzed across a wide spectral range, Berry et al. developed a platform for multispectral imaging of whole-tumor sections with high-fidelity single-cell resolution. The resultant AstroPath platform was used to develop a multiplex immunofluorescent assay highly predictive of responses and outcomes for melanoma patients receiving immunotherapy.

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