Digital technology may make microscopes obsolete
Beyond the CHU, international concerns
Cytomine has been a big hit with the medical faculty of the ULg, and is ready to make a wider circle of friends. There was already interest. “In the pharmaceutical sector, the Breast International Group (BIG) is interested in our platform,” says Stévens. “Their research is aimed at the most severe form of breast cancer, a type against which science has not made progress in the last 20 years. So the BIG company launched Aurora, an international project, for the purpose of gathering, classifying and analyzing 13,000 slides from 1,300 European patients. We will let them use our platform for handling imagery.” The struggle against cancer has to be carried on at the international level. It is impossible to put together a reliable data base if all the data comes from one country such as Belgium. There are not enough patients here. Means of communication, central facilities for storing and sharing images and easy access to the system – these are the priorities.
Moving toward the world of business
Taking note of these needs, shared by many, the project leaders have decided to bring the project out of its university campus cocoon. The programme is now robust enough to survive being adapted to commercial requirements. Raphaël Marée will remain at the ULg, developing algorithms for image analysis for the platform, and he will work on bringing out the pedagogical potential of the programme. Benjamin Stévens will take the project is yet another direction: “We have a First Spin-off Project that should appear at the end of 2014. The purpose will be to get closer to the client, from installation to the specialization of the programme, so everyone’s expectations will be realized. We will offer storage space and other specific developments depending on the need… Over and above the relationship with the client, this Spin-off will represent a high-quality brand”.