Brain tumor: NEMESIS project, beyond the human eye

Reaching beyond what the human eye can see when operating on a brain tumor is vitally important when dissecting only the pathological tissue and not touching or touching as little as possible the healthy tissue, and this is the objective of the NEMESIS project, led by Spanish researchers

Brain tumor: NEMESIS project, beyond the human eye


Brain image of the NEMESIS project

Within the framework of NEMESIS, a technological prototype has been developed that offers very precise images of the different tissues of the brain to facilitate the interventions of neurosurgeons when operating on a brain tumor.

Led by Electronic and Microelectronic Design Group (GDEM) of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Institute for the Research biomedical from the 12 October University Hospital in Madridthe project, whose full name is NEMESIS-3D-CM, started in 2019 and is already showing the first results.

In accordance with Alfonso Lagares Gómez-Abascal, head of the Neurology service on October 12many tumors are not identifiable with the naked eye, because “there is not much differentiation from normal tissue” and many times the surgeon “finds himself at a loss when it comes to identifying with certainty which is the tumor and which is normal tissue “.

The prototype is able to display hyperspectral images, in order to help the neurosurgeon to resect as much pathological tissue as possible, trying to reduce the removal of unaffected tissue.

These images facilitate the extraction of information from the brain tissues that until now were hidden at first glance, explain the technical managers of the project.

Brain tumor: NEMESIS project

Funded by the Community of Madrid, the NEMESIS prototype generates immersive 3D models from the fusion of hyperspectral image and video, magnetic resonance and intraoperative ultrasounds.

With this fusion, immersive classification maps are being generated which identify by means of colors the different tissues that can be observed on the brain surface: healthy tissue, vascularized tissue, cancerous tissue and dura mater.

In this way neurosurgeons are provided with a support tool non-invasive, non-ionizing diagnosisand that generates a continuous flow of information to be able to make better decisions when resecting brain tumors.

NEMESIS project: 158 operations

To date, a total of 158 operations have been performed, mainly treating high-grade glioblastomas, aneurysms, meningiomas and brain metastases.

As sources from the Polytechnic University’s research team have told EFEsalut, they are currently classifying the different tissues of the brain surface (healthy, tumorous, dura mater…) in real time with artificial intelligence models.

They are also starting to merge these classification maps with magnetic resonance imaging, “which means that not only can surgeons work with flat images, but also with three-dimensional models.”

As for the work with doctors, they are in a formal assessment stage teaching them image fusion and methodologically assessing tissue classifications in order to increase the accuracy of the artificial intelligence models we are using .

brain tumor NEMESIS project
Image of the NEMESIS project in which you can see a healthy tissue greenthe red is cancerous tissue and the blue the vascular tissue.

During the three years that the project has been running, the following have been achieved main milestones:

1.- The quoted has been designed, built and tested image capture prototype hyperspectral in the operating room.

The prototype makes it possible to position a series of sensors with different functionalities adjusted to the intervention at each moment on the intervened area.

2.- The prototype has made it possible to generate one database with images of more than 150 interventions.

The information it contains is completely anonymous and mainly consists of images of different types of tumors taken with different types of cameras.

This is one unique database, the usefulness of which extends beyond this project.

brain tumor NEMESIS project
Camera team of the NEMESIS project of the Polytechnic University of Madrid

3.- One has been designed image processing chain using Machine Learning (Artificial Intelligence) techniques.

It is this chain that ultimately allows the different tissues of the patient’s brain to be classified.

The accuracy and scope of the model is highly dependent on the database used to feed these “smart” models.

4.- It has been done fusion of images hyperspectral images taken with the prototype with those coming from the magnetic resonances that are performed on patients before surgery.

This makes it possible to generate much more accurate immersive models of each patient’s brain.

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