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  • Karl Turley

Fuel3D’s study on the future of subcutaneous tumour monitoring published in Plos One

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Research by world-leading 3D technology innovator Fuel3D demonstrates that with BioVolume it is possible to record subcutaneous tumour measurements in a rapid, minimally invasive, morphology-independent way, and with less human-bias compared to callipers. The innovate 3D monitoring solution used in oncological drug development captures images in the cloud and has the potential to surpass the performance of callipers by providing more reproducible measurements, improving data traceability and providing a source of biomarkers for animal welfare and secondary drug toxicity/efficacy.

Fuel3D’s study, published in Plos One on 14 October 2019 reviews the use of callipers, the standard technique for tumour volume assessment, by conducting a statistical review of 2,500 tumour volume measurements from 1,600 mice by multiple operators across six mouse strains and 20 tumour models. It also explores the impact of six different tumour morphologies on volume estimation and the detection of treatment effects using a computational tumour growth model. With callipers, the tumour volume is estimated by taking the volume to be that of a regular spheroid with the same dimensions. The study concludes that BioVolume provides an alternative to estimating volume with linear calliper measurements which are subjective, insufficiently traceable and subject to accuracy errors given that frequently tumours have irregular morphologies.

Steve Medlicott, CEO of Fuel3D said: “BioVolume combines 3D imaging with thermography to monitor subcutaneous tumours and set a new standard in the quest for accurate, reproducible data and better science. It has the potential to make trials more effective by removing human bias and to enable new cancer drugs to be brought to market faster through a reduction in the length of pre-clinical trials.

“Users are excited about the ability to improve measurement accuracy and traceability as well as our work in monitoring tumour condition including redness, pallor and ulceration and use of machine learning algorithms to associate different tumour conditions and their outcomes. They also see the potential BioVolume has to ensure greater animal welfare in adherence with the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement).”

The published study uses data from a pre-production unit and includes 297 scans from over 120 mice collected by four different operators. 3D and infrared thermal images of the tumours are simultaneously captured in under a second and the tumour region is detected automatically, with tumour volume calculated in under a minute. Images are processed in parallel within the cloud which gives additional benefits to processing times.

Karl Turley, CMO of Fuel3D added: “One of the common themes in life sciences is the desire for greater innovation and collaboration in pre-clinical research. We see BioVolume playing a key role in enabling the application of AI and deep learning to improve the quality of data in monitoring disease progression and response to therapy in in-vivo oncology studies, and in supporting the lab of the future.”

Fuel3D’s study “An Innovative non-invasive technique for subcutaneous tumour measurements’ is published in Plos One with thanks to AstraZeneca Bioscience Senior Management for funding the project and all the Personal Licence holders involved in the testing. To read the full study visit:

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