Press Esc to close
Friday 30 January 2015
News updated at 12:58 AM IST
Weather
Max: 28°C
Min : 17°C
In Bengaluru
Sunny day

'Google search algorithm helps track spread of cancer'

New York, Dec 10, 2012 (PTI):
Google. File photo. For representation purpose only

The equations search engine Google employs to predict the Web pages its users visit has inspired a new way to track the spread of cancer cells in the human body.

"Each of the sites where a spreading, or metastatic, tumour could show up are analogous to Web pages," said Paul Newton, a mathematician at University of Southern California.

Google ranks Web pages by the likelihood that an individual would end up visiting each one randomly. These predictions are based on the trends of millions of users across the Web, the 'Live Science' reported.

It uses the "steady state distribution" to calculate the probability of someone visiting a page.

"You have millions of people wandering the Web, [and] Google would like to know what proportion are visiting any given Web page at a given time.

"It occurred to me that steady state distribution is equivalent to the metastatic tumour distribution that shows up in the autopsy datasets," Newton said.

The referred dataset contains information about autopsy patients from the 1920's to the 1940's, who died before chemotherapy was available.

By focusing on this group of patients, the researchers could track the natural progression of cancer, specifically lung cancer, without different treatments interfering with the data.

Out of fifty metastasis sites described in the autopsy reports, the scientists found that twenty-seven contained cancer that appeared to have spread from the lungs.

Just like with an individual browsing the Web, cells that break off from the original lung tumour and entered the bloodstream had a certain probability of progressing to different locations.

Following the Google's example with search results, the researchers split the sites where the lung cancer spread to into two groups into first and second order.

In first order sites, tumour cells would most likely reach them by travelling directly from the lung. Tumours are more likely to reach second order sites by colonising a first order site and then spreading to the second order location.

Researchers, using this approach, were even able to estimate the average times it takes the cancer to spread to different parts of the body, the report said.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A groom leads his horse in the equine pool after working out on the track, during early morning...

A groom leads his horse in the equine pool after working out on the track, during early morning...

A handler bathes a horse after a training session ahead of the Indian Derby in Mumbai...

A handler bathes a horse after a training session ahead of the Indian Derby in Mumbai...

Ladakhi women offering prayers during the inauguration of traditional Buddhist prayer...

Ladakhi women offering prayers during the inauguration of traditional Buddhist prayer...

A Police man takes pictures as the Raisina Hill which houses India's most important ministries...

A Police man takes pictures as the Raisina Hill which houses India's most important ministries...

A man walks on a snow covered path after in Srinagar on Thursday. Temperatures drop due...

A man walks on a snow covered path after in Srinagar on Thursday. Temperatures drop due...

A scene after light snow fall at Dal Lake in Srinagar on Thursday...

A scene after light snow fall at Dal Lake in Srinagar on Thursday...

Migratory seagulls are seen above the river Ganga during Magh Mela in Allahabad...

Migratory seagulls are seen above the river Ganga during Magh Mela in Allahabad...

President Pranab Mukherjee leaving for Beating Retreat ceremony from forecourt...

President Pranab Mukherjee leaving for Beating Retreat ceremony from forecourt...

School children perform during presentation of National Bal Shree Honour 2011 & 2012...

School children perform during presentation of National Bal Shree Honour 2011 & 2012...

Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor during inauguration of International Bicycle & Fitness Expo...

Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor during inauguration of International Bicycle & Fitness Expo...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523