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Ravanbakhsh S.,University of Alberta | Ravanbakhsh S.,Alberta Innovates Center for Machine Learning | Gajewski M.,University of Alberta | Greiner R.,University of Alberta | And 2 more authors.
Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling | Year: 2013

Background: As microtubules are essential for cell growth and division, its constituent protein β-tubulin has been a popular target for various treatments, including cancer chemotherapy. There are several isotypes of human β-tubulin and each type of cell expresses its characteristic distribution of these isotypes. Moreover, each tubulin-binding drug has its own distribution of binding affinities over the various isotypes, which further complicates identifying the optimal drug selection. An ideal drug would preferentially bind only the tubulin isotypes expressed abundantly by the cancer cells, but not those in the healthy cells. Unfortunately, as the distributions of the tubulin isotypes in cancer cells overlap with those of healthy cells, this ideal scenario is clearly not possible. We can, however, seek a drug that interferes significantly with the isotype distribution of the cancer cell, but has only minor interactions with those of the healthy cells. Methods. We describe a quantitative methodology for identifying this optimal tubulin isotype profile for an ideal cancer drug, given the isotype distribution of a specific cancer type, as well as the isotype distributions in various healthy tissues, and the physiological importance of each such tissue. Results: We report the optimal isotype profiles for different types of cancer with various routes of delivery. Conclusions: Our algorithm, which defines the best profile for each type of cancer (given the drug delivery route and some specified patient characteristics), will help to personalize the design of pharmaceuticals for individual patients. This paper is an attempt to explicitly consider the effects of the tubulin isotype distributions in both cancer and normal cell types, for rational chemotherapy design aimed at optimizing the drug's efficacy with minimal side effects. © 2013 Ravanbakhsh et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source


Bastani M.,University of Alberta | Vos L.,University of Alberta | Asgarian N.,University of Alberta | Asgarian N.,Alberta Innovates Center for Machine Learning | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: Selecting the appropriate treatment for breast cancer requires accurately determining the estrogen receptor (ER) status of the tumor. However, the standard for determining this status, immunohistochemical analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin embedded samples, suffers from numerous technical and reproducibility issues. Assessment of ER-status based on RNA expression can provide more objective, quantitative and reproducible test results. Methods: To learn a parsimonious RNA-based classifier of hormone receptor status, we applied a machine learning tool to a training dataset of gene expression microarray data obtained from 176 frozen breast tumors, whose ER-status was determined by applying ASCO-CAP guidelines to standardized immunohistochemical testing of formalin fixed tumor. Results: This produced a three-gene classifier that can predict the ER-status of a novel tumor, with a cross-validation accuracy of 93.17±2.44%. When applied to an independent validation set and to four other public databases, some on different platforms, this classifier obtained over 90% accuracy in each. In addition, we found that this prediction rule separated the patients' recurrence-free survival curves with a hazard ratio lower than the one based on the IHC analysis of ER-status. Conclusions: Our efficient and parsimonious classifier lends itself to high throughput, highly accurate and low-cost RNA-based assessments of ER-status, suitable for routine high-throughput clinical use. This analytic method provides a proof-of-principle that may be applicable to developing effective RNA-based tests for other biomarkers and conditions. © 2013 Bastani et al. Source


Diaz I.,University of Alberta | Diaz I.,University of Magdalena | Boulanger P.,University of Alberta | Greiner R.,University of Alberta | And 5 more authors.
Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS | Year: 2013

This paper introduces an automatic brain tumor segmentation method (ABTS) for segmenting multiple components of brain tumor using four magnetic resonance image modalities. ABTS's four stages involve automatic histogram multi-thresholding and morphological operations including geodesic dilation. Our empirical results, on 16 real tumors, show that ABTS works very effectively, achieving a Dice accuracy compared to expert segmentation of 81% in segmenting edema and 85% in segmenting gross tumor volume (GTV). © 2013 IEEE. Source


Stretch C.,University of Alberta | Khan S.,University of Alberta | Asgarian N.,University of Alberta | Asgarian N.,Alberta Innovates Center for Machine Learning | And 11 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Top differentially expressed gene lists are often inconsistent between studies and it has been suggested that small sample sizes contribute to lack of reproducibility and poor prediction accuracy in discriminative models. We considered sex differences (69♂, 65♀) in 134 human skeletal muscle biopsies using DNA microarray. The full dataset and subsamples (n = 10 (5♂, 5♀) to n = 120 (60♂, 60♀)) thereof were used to assess the effect of sample size on the differential expression of single genes, gene rank order and prediction accuracy. Using our full dataset (n = 134), we identified 717 differentially expressed transcripts (p<0.0001) and we were able predict sex with ∼90% accuracy, both within our dataset and on external datasets. Both p-values and rank order of top differentially expressed genes became more variable using smaller subsamples. For example, at n = 10 (5♂, 5♀), no gene was considered differentially expressed at p<0.0001 and prediction accuracy was ∼50% (no better than chance). We found that sample size clearly affects microarray analysis results; small sample sizes result in unstable gene lists and poor prediction accuracy. We anticipate this will apply to other phenotypes, in addition to sex. © 2013 Stretch et al. Source

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