Science relies on technology to decipher images invisible to the human eye

Radiography, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging are some of the diagnostic tools that allow obtaining internal images of an individual and detecting the presence of diseases and their degree of involvement or extension. Although they allow establishing the most suitable form of therapeutic approach, there is still relevant information in decision making that is invisible to the human eye. Radiomics is a science that extracts, through computational algorithms, quantitative parameters in medical images to detect and measure the most difficult and distant aspects for the view.

This science is beginning to offer information that until now remained hidden from the physician. Its application in clinical research contributes to the understanding of many diseases and the identification of certain markers. From the information derived from these studies, it is possible to develop applications for the diagnosis and prediction of disease risk.

Thanks to its ability to analyze large amounts of data, radiomics is a very useful source of information for studying the foreseeable evolution of diseases. “When we study a pancreatic tumor with a CT scan, in addition to the radiologist reporting its size and resectability, radiomics studies on these images will tell us with greater precision whether or not the patient is susceptible to salvage surgery, if to develop a short-term recurrence or metastasis in the next three months”, explains the coordinator of the Report and director of the Medical Imaging Clinical Area of ​​the Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe, Luis Martí-Bonmatí.

Despite having developed much of its potential, this science is in a exploratory phase and generation of evidence. Before being transferred to clinical practice, it needs to face challenges of a different nature. One of them comes from the hand of the regulation, which must guarantee the privacy of patient data and the security of its use in the development phases. Although radiomic data extraction can be performed on any type of medical image available in hospitals, it is important to ensure its security and privacy.

Radiomics makes it possible to offer the most personalized therapies for a patient based on the characteristics of the pathology they suffer from. “A disruptive advance has been achieved in medicine. Radiomics intends to report the predisposition, presence or prognosis of diseases and can be used to select patients who are candidates for treatment and offer them better therapeutic options in a personalized way”, concludes Consuelo Martín de Dios, managing director of the Roche Institute Foundation.

These issues have been collected by the Roche Institute Foundation in the publication of its ‘Anticipating Report: Radiomics’, prepared by the Observatory of Trends in Future Medicine. As explained by the coordinator of the Report, it offers multiple applications in areas such as oncology, rheumatological or neurodegenerative diseases.


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