Students help cancer research

Five graduates of the HTL Vienna "TGM" have developed as part of their thesis a method to more effectively judge the effect of anticancer drugs. She is now helping cancer research.

In fact, the five TGM students in Vienna are trained as industrial engineers. But with their statistical know-how, they are also interesting for medicine. Especially for Angelika Unterhuber and her team at the Vienna Medical University. With the help of zebrafish larvae, the medical technician would like to study the development of cancer in cells and the actual functioning of different drugs. "Although zebrafish are so different from humans, we share about 70% of the genes with them.In other words, with this model, one can always draw conclusions about the effect of the zebrafish. evolution of cancer in humans. "


TGM / Považay

Changes in transparent fish larvae should be visualized with the help of a laser scanner. Until now, the camera was producing terabytes of images, but no one could evaluate. "Due to staff and capacity constraints, our colleague and I have been unable to properly process all of this data and really differentiate these small differences, which are in the micrometer range." The problem: the raw images are too fuzzy to be modified to be able to recognize. Therefore, until now, it was not known whether laser tomography was entirely appropriate for visualizing the positive and negative changes of fish larvae.

Nights at the AKH

This could change a team of five HTL-Maturing and Maturing now. As part of their thesis, they were able to refine the images and develop an algorithm to analyze other fish larvae more quickly, says Benedikt Gärtner, one of Maturant's representatives. "I've learned a new programming language and written a program that still supports it, so that film processing takes less time." Jan Muggenauer, meanwhile, was responsible for the visibility of the spinal cord and swim bladder of fish larvae on the images. It is there that the cancer begins and changes the tissues.

Research students

TGM / Hetzmannseder

From left to right: Elyahu Yusupov (18), Fadia Salama (20), Jan Muggenauer (20), Benedikt Gärtner (23) and Innis Považay (19).

In addition, the students created with great commitment four three-dimensional models of fish larvae, with which you can visualize even the smallest changes in fish. "We spent a few nights at the AKH and have really worked for hours, simply because it's a really interesting subject and you realize you can make a difference," said Innis Považay. He proposed the diploma project to his classmates. "My father worked in the group, so I became aware of the project."

Ö1 diffusion Note

The newspapers devoted themselves to this subject: 4.7., 12 hours.

To build the 3D models, students had to manually select tens of thousands of shots per fish and assemble them into a 3D image. "It's really about nanometers, just zoom in and mark each diameter manually so that the data is correct."

Laser tomography helps cancer research

The work was worth it. In fact, the laser tomograph detects the smallest changes in fish larvae. Thus, researchers from the Vienna Medical University see for the first time how different drugs work and how the disease works. This should facilitate the search for new anticancer drugs, said Unterhauser. "The goal is to develop an effective therapeutic strategy against cancer, and as it is not necessary to test expensive drugs on humans, but to conduct research at the preliminary stage, in order to develop personalized drugs for cancer patients. The student algorithm should also be applied to other diseases and patterns.

In addition, researchers can now use different 3D models to zoom in on the fish, closely observe blood vessels, and observe where changes occur and where they do not occur.

In fact, the project was a diploma project because they had to do their other classmates. But some came to the taste of studying medicine. "The research interests me a lot and I really want to study medicine," Považay said.

Ruth Hutsteiner, Ö1-Wissenschaft

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