Predicting cell behaviour parameters from glioblastoma on a chip images. A deep learning approach

Comput Biol Med. 2021 Aug:135:104547. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2021.104547. Epub 2021 Jun 6.


The broad possibilities offered by microfluidic devices in relation to massive data monitoring and acquisition open the door to the use of deep learning technologies in a very promising field: cell culture monitoring. In this work, we develop a methodology for parameter identification in cell culture from fluorescence images using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN). We apply this methodology to the in vitro study of glioblastoma (GBM), the most common, aggressive and lethal primary brain tumour. In particular, the aim is to predict the three parameters defining the go or grow GBM behaviour, which is determinant for the tumour prognosis and response to treatment. The data used to train the network are obtained from a mathematical model, previously validated with in vitro experimental results. The resulting CNN provides remarkably accurate predictions (Pearson's ρ > 0.99 for all the parameters). Besides, it proves to be sound, to filter noise and to generalise. After training and validation with synthetic data, we predict the parameters corresponding to a real image of a microfluidic experiment. The obtained results show good performance of the CNN. The proposed technique may set the first steps towards patient-specific tools, able to predict in real-time the tumour evolution for each particular patient, thanks to a combined in vitro-in silico approach.

Keywords: Deep learning; Glioblastoma; Identification of biological parameters; Intelligent microfluidics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Deep Learning*
  • Glioblastoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
  • Neural Networks, Computer