VR Maps of Tumors Can Help Cure Cancer
It’s good to know that scientists are developing the latest technology in order to fight against cancer or ultimately find a cure, but no one thought the efforts could involve virtual reality. Yet Cambridge University is exploring 3D visualization and Virtual Reality after a multi-millionaire grant.
“We want to create an interactive, faithful, 3D map of tumors that can be studied in virtual reality that scientists can ‘walk into’ and look at it in great detail.”
Said lead researcher Greg Hannon in a Cambridge news post.
Creating Virtual Reality Tumors
Tumors would be sliced into very thin pieces so they can be imaged and analyzed. Then all the slices are to be reassembled in a three-dimensional model that scientists can use to view in and analyze in virtual reality. There are already ways to make 3D scans of several kinds of tumors but being able to port this into a VR headset would bring greater interactivity and detail.
“I think this is the very cutting edge of how people will in the future understand not only cancer but organismal development. All sorts of biological problems happen in 3D, and they happen in 3D with cells communicating with each other in ways that we really don’t yet capture with any technology that we’ve developed so far.”
Said Hannon in a video from the university.
The team of 14 investigators was funded by the Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge, which awarded £20 million to this project. The funds will be granted over a six-year period in order for them to be fully able to create virtual reality tumors that could help save millions of lives.