A new tool for diagnosing cancer

June 26, 2023
Platform combines structural details with molecular information about a tumor.

A team led by researchers at Harvard Medical School has developed a new tool that promises to improve the way pathologists see and evaluate a tumor by providing detailed clues about the cancer. The tool, called Orion, combines histologic with molecular information and offers deeper insight into a tumor’s type, behavior, and likely response to treatment.

A report on the team’s work is published June 22 in Nature Cancer.

Orion consists of a powerful digital imaging platform that integrates information gained through traditional histology with details revealed by molecular imaging on a tumor sample.

The researchers used Orion to analyze tumor samples from more than 70 patients with colorectal cancer. The tool provided complementary histological and molecular information about each tumor sample and identified biological markers, or biomarkers, that were more common in patients with serious disease. These biomarkers consisted of specific combinations of tumor features, typically based on numbers and properties of immune cells and other cells, that predicted how patients with colorectal cancer would fare.

Harvard Medical School release on Newswise