A joint study by engineers at the University of Houston and physicians from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, has developed a new method for screening cells used in immunotherapy cancer treatments.
The method allows high-performing immune system cells to be studied in isolation. The method called TIMING, for Time-lapse Imaging Microscopy in Nanowell Grids, can go through tens of thousands of interactions between immune cells and cancer cells and automatically analyze thousands of cell interactions at a time.
Conventional analysis is done manually, making it impossible to study every combination.
"We've developed a game-changing piece of software that can accurately analyze an entire grid of nanowell videos and make quantitative measurements," Badri Roysam, chairman of the University of Houston (UH) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and lead author of the Bioinformatics paper.
It is essentially, he said, "the combination of a supermicroscope and a supercomputer to screen cell-cell interactions on a large scale."
"The proposed algorithms dramatically improved the yield and accuracy of the automated analysis to a level at which the automatically generated cellular measurements can be utilized for biological studies directly, with little or no editing," the researchers wrote.