Press Esc to close
Wednesday 23 July 2014
News updated at 9:31 PM IST
Weather
Max: 28°C
Min : 21.3°C
In Bangalore
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
Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal looks on as CEO Cramer Bell (left) and James Hogan...

Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal looks on as CEO Cramer Bell (left) and James Hogan...

A worker sorting tomatoes at a vegetable market in...

A worker sorting tomatoes at a vegetable market in...

Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar during the launch of Kaspersky Kids...

Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar during the launch of Kaspersky Kids...

A bull stands inside a shop selling clothes at Varanasi...

A bull stands inside a shop selling clothes at Varanasi...

Actress Mandira Bedi with her son during the launch of Philips...

Actress Mandira Bedi with her son during the launch of Philips...

Stage dancers dressed up like MG Ramachandran (MGR), Rajnikanth and Kamalhassan...

Stage dancers dressed up like MG Ramachandran (MGR), Rajnikanth and Kamalhassan...

First lady heavy vehicle driver of Assam Deepali Rajkhowa on the driving seat...

First lady heavy vehicle driver of Assam Deepali Rajkhowa on the driving seat...

Hindu devotees travel past holy ghats on the banks of the river Ganges...

Hindu devotees travel past holy ghats on the banks of the river Ganges...

Visitors at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wed..

Visitors at Parliament House in New Delhi on Wed..

Telangana chief minister K.Chandrashekhar Rao presenting a letter of appointment...

Telangana chief minister K.Chandrashekhar Rao presenting a letter of appointment...

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