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LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - In an unlikely tie-up, astronomers and cancer researchers have joined forces to study breast tumours using image analysis software originally developed to explore the distant stars.
The automated system offers a speedy way to test if tumours are aggressive and may mean pathologists one day no longer have to peer down a microscope to spot subtle differences in tissue samples.
"It shows that we don't cross-communicate as much as we ought to," said lead researcher Raza Ali, a pathologist from Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Institute.
Ali and colleagues studied just over 2,000 tumour samples and found the astronomical algorithm system could process them in a day, compared to the week they would have taken to analyse manually.
They now plan a larger international study involving samples from more than 20,000 breast cancer patients to refine the approach.