Office for Technology Commercialization

Autonomous High-Accuracy Analysis of Prostate Cancer Biopsies

Technology #2019-015

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Identification of prostate cancer
Gregory J Metzger, PhD
Associate Professor, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research
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Joseph Koopmeiners, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Biostatistics
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Managed By
Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289
Patent Protection

Provisional Patent Application Filed
Signature maps for automatic identification of prostate cancer from colorimetric analysis of H&E-and IHC-stained histopathological specimens
Scientific Reports, (2019) 9:6992

Autonomous Annotation of Histologically-Stained Samples

This technology is an automated, machine learning-based tissue analysis software that can predict the percentage of cancerous epithelium on histologically-stained samples, and reliably detect prostate cancer. This technology significantly reduces time and cost associated with manual annotation (i.e., detection and delineation) of tissue sample pathology slides often done by pathologists. The regression model developed here accurately predicts the percentage of cancerous epithelium within a sample, and a threshold is applied to reliably obtain a binary label of cancer vs. non-cancer sample.

Algorithm Derived from High-Confidence Ground Truth

The gold standard for obtaining the ground truth to train a predictive model requires the manual annotation of ex vivo prostatectomy samples. Such manual annotations performed by trained pathologists are very time-consuming and prone to error due to subjectivity. The method described here automates the laborious process of cancer annotation, saving significant time while achieving cancer detection accuracy comparable to that of a trained pathologist. This automated cancer annotation algorithm uses colorimetric information obtained from more than one type of staining (including morphology, architecture, and pathologic state of tissue), thereby increasing its predictive accuracy. The ground truth used to train the predictive model is derived from manual annotation of samples at high resolution, which ensures high confidence in its accuracy.

Phase of Development

  • Working prototype available.


  • Saves significant time and cost
  • High accuracy of detection and grading, comparable to that of trained pathologists
  • Eliminates user error and subjectivity


  • Predicts disease likelihood
  • Autonomous cancer annotation on digitized whole slide images
  • Predict the extent and distribution of cancerous epithelium within each slide
  • Cancer or no-cancer binary output available
  • More accurate than single staining methods


  • Computer-aided cancer detection
  • Software as a service (SaaS) for detection, grading of cancer
  • Cancer pathology
  • Model to predict cancer using non-invasive tools such as MRI

Interested in Licensing?
The University relies on industry partners to further develop and ultimately commercialize this technology. The license is for the sale, manufacture or use of products claimed by the patents. Please contact Kevin Nickels to share your business needs and licensing and technical interests in this technology.