Researchers in Finland and Germany have developed an open-source software that will make it significantly easier to process bioimaging data. The software, named BioImageXD, will help in analysing cell and tissue functions. Version 1.0 of BioImageXD has been accepted for publication in Nature Methods.
Among other things, the BioImageXD software is a tool for analysing how molecules move on cell surfaces and how they bond together. With the software, scientists can analyse the composition of cell surfaces, study how cancer cells spread in a three-dimensional environment, or measure how effectively viruses and targeted drugs enter cells. Such calculations have not been possible before.
In recent years, cell and tissue imaging with new, specialised microscopes has considerably advanced research in bioscience and biomedicine. The new methods also allow for studies on living cells. However, the microscopic images are not displayable as such and need to be rendered into three-dimensional models. These 3D renderings carry significant weight as evidence already by themselves, but reliable scientific data also requires numerical values, which can then be used in mathematical calculations. In addition, these calculations must be feasible with extremely large datasets.
One of the unique features of BioImageXD is that it can be used to create completely new analysis methods (and users do not even need programming skills), process thousands of images at the same time and analyse millions of molecules. Comparison tests have shown that BioImageXD is faster and more sensitive than other similar programs.
P. Kankaanpää, L. Paavolainen, S. Tiitta, M. Karjalainen, J. Päivärinne, J. Nieminen, V. Marjomäki, J. Heino and D. White: "BioImageXD: an open, general-purpose and high-throughput image-processing platform", Nature Methods 9: 683-689 (2012).
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Imaging & Microscopy Issue 4 , 2012 as free epaper or pdf download