In the project clinically and pharmacologically relevant questions are being addressed in close cooperation with medical partners at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the University Hospital of Jena. Thus, for the first time, important clinical-oncological questions are being researched directly in organs and tissues, which require the context of the highly complex, heterogeneous 3D tissue composite. These questions include, for example, the distribution of tumour stem cells, of head and neck tumours as well as the spatial distribution of active substances and the therapy response in pancreatic carcinoma.
In addition to the further development of mathematical algorithms for pre-processing, data analysis and statistical evaluation, new concepts for user interaction are also being developed in cooperation with the industrial partners Bruker Daltonik GmbH and Human Solutions GmbH. A particular challenge here is the 3D visualisation and direct interaction with this 3D data. Since the 3D MALDI imaging images are data that depict a 1D spectrum in every spatial point, classic visualisation techniques from medical image processing are not suitable here.
A pure representation of the 3D metabolic information based on the MALDI data is of high complexity as a technical problem, but it is still not very meaningful in itself from a diagnostic point of view. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS, this metabolic information is therefore linked with anatomical information by overlaying the MALDI data with magnetic resonance imaging data and with microscopic image data after histological staining. Only this linkage allows a clinically and pharmacologically meaningful evaluation for the questions in oncology.