Dr. Raj Acharya, professor of computer science who headed the site development project, says, "Right now, the prototype focuses on prostate cancer data but our online toolbox could be used for dissimilar data sets for any disease."
For example, using the prostate cancer data sets, researchers can pose questions such as the following: What percentage of the patients recorded have a family history of prostate cancer? or How many patients have been categorized with different pathologic T stages? or Give me the average expression vector for patients with Gleason sum score of 4.
To come up with answers, the toolbox applies information fusion techniques to integrate multiple and dissimilar data sets so that all of the relevant data can be used simultaneously in advanced analysis.
Acharya says information fusion is new to the biological sciences as well as some of the other tools in the online toolbox, including software he and his research group developed to combine gene information with gene sequence information.
The toolbox is detailed in a paper, "An Online Analysis and Information Fusion Platform for Heterogeneous Biomedical Informatics Data," presented Thursday, June 23, at the IEEE Conference for Computer Based Medical Systems in Dublin, Ireland. The software will also be demonstrated during the International Symposium on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology on Wednesday, June 29, in Detroit, MI. The authors are Srivatsava Ranjit Ganta, doctoral candidate in computer science; Jyotsna Kasturi, doctoral candidate in computer science; Dr. John Gilbertson, M.D., assistant professor of cellular and molecular pathology
Contact: Barbara Hale