Monitoring mesenchymal stem cell cultures using image processing and pattern recognition techniques

Bradhurst, Christopher John (2010) Monitoring mesenchymal stem cell cultures using image processing and pattern recognition techniques. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Stem cells have attracted tremendous interest in recent times due to their promise in providing innovative new treatments for a great range of currently debilitating diseases. This is due to their potential ability to regenerate and repair damaged tissue, and hence restore lost body function, in a manner beyond the body's usual healing process. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells or bone marrow stromal cells are one type of adult stem cells that are of particular interest. Since they are derived from a living human adult donor, they do not have the ethical issues associated with the use of human embryonic stem cells. They are also able to be taken from a patient or other donors with relative ease and then grown readily in the laboratory for clinical application. Despite the attractive properties of bone marrow stromal cells, there is presently no quick and easy way to determine the quality of a sample of such cells. Presently, a sample must be grown for weeks and subject to various time-consuming assays, under the direction of an expert cell biologist, to determine whether it will be useful. Hence there is a great need for innovative new ways to assess the quality of cell cultures for research and potential clinical application. The research presented in this thesis investigates the use of computerised image processing and pattern recognition techniques to provide a quicker and simpler method for the quality assessment of bone marrow stromal cell cultures. In particular, aim of this work is to find out whether it is possible, through the use of image processing and pattern recognition techniques, to predict the growth potential of a culture of human bone marrow stromal cells at early stages, before it is readily apparent to a human observer. With the above aim in mind, a computerised system was developed to classify the quality of bone marrow stromal cell cultures based on phase contrast microscopy images. Our system was trained and tested on mixed images of both healthy and unhealthy bone marrow stromal cell samples taken from three different patients. This system, when presented with 44 previously unseen bone marrow stromal cell culture images, outperformed human experts in the ability to correctly classify healthy and unhealthy cultures. The system correctly classified the health status of an image 88% of the time compared to an average of 72% of the time for human experts. Extensive training and testing of the system on a set of 139 normal sized images and 567 smaller image tiles showed an average performance of 86% and 85% correct classifications, respectively. The contributions of this thesis include demonstrating the applicability and potential of computerised image processing and pattern recognition techniques to the task of quality assessment of bone marrow stromal cell cultures. As part of this system, an image normalisation method has been suggested and a new segmentation algorithm has been developed for locating cell regions of irregularly shaped cells in phase contrast images. Importantly, we have validated the efficacy of both the normalisation and segmentation method, by demonstrating that both methods quantitatively improve the classification performance of subsequent pattern recognition algorithms, in discriminating between cell cultures of differing health status. We have shown that the quality of a cell culture of bone marrow stromal cells may be assessed without the need to either segment individual cells or to use time-lapse imaging. Finally, we have proposed a set of features, that when extracted from the cell regions of segmented input images, can be used to train current state of the art pattern recognition systems to predict the quality of bone marrow stromal cell cultures earlier and more consistently than human experts.

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ID Code: 43623
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Boles, Wageeh & Xiao, Yin
Keywords: image processing, pattern recognition, mesenchymal stem cell, bone marrow stromal cell, quality assessment
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 26 Jul 2011 04:17
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2011 04:17

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