Chickens and research

Or maybe I should title this post eggs and software. When I do a CAM (Chorioallantoic Membrane) assay, which is an in vivo angiogenesis model, getting the results is a 3-step process.


First of all, of course you have to do the experiment, which isn't trivial since there's so many damn things that can go wrong. Some eggs aren't fertilized, lots of eggs develop problems when you break them, and there's some eggs that, for no apparent reason, don't develop properly after being added to a petri dish.

Yet, eventually we end up with eggs that look like the picture above. Around 30% will develop all the way and we have 3 - 5 discs per egg which adds up to a faily significant number--statistically speaking. So step two is taking the picture.



But getting the picture up on top is just the first step in the analysis. Each disc (these are filters that have drug added to them--or saline in the case of controls--so we can see what affect there is on angiogenesis) gets photographed and then we need to do some photomanipulation so the analysis software can quantify the number of vessels present. And that's step three in the process.

The picture above had several changes that aren't visible to the eye, such as changing from 8bit to 16bit, and obvious visible changes like the image being changed to gray scale and inverted.


The final changes are of intensity and brightness. The software requires an image with fairly high contrast so sometimes we need to make changes so that the image wil be processed. Once all the editing is done, the software automatically calculates how many branchpoints and nodes are in the fields of view and we use those numbers to decide if there's any drug affect on angiogenesis.

Why do we do this? Are we just chicken egg haters? Nah. Tumors grow by increasing angiogenesis so if we can develop drugs that decrease angiogenesis, we might have our hands on a good anti-cancer drug. That's the plan, anyway.

Comments

Bob-kat said…
Fascinating! A good anti-cancer drug is always good news so good luck with that. But, do you hate chicken eggs just a bit?

The blue colour in the last two pics is kinds pretty.
Well, this sure is fascinating Dave...! And the pictures---which are basically a mystery to tyhe untrained eye---Are Very Interesting!
I sure hope you have some luck with all this research....It feels like Cancer is on the rise...!
kenju said…
I wish you luck with that, Dave. Is it exciting to know that you may one day be part of the reason that we can stop cancer?
Nina said…
Fascinating and beautiful - and by the way, I don't care if you have to murder millions of chicken embryos to get results. Cancer sucks.

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