Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Researchers Use Google's Search Algorithms To Fight Cancer

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the searching-for-a-cure dept.

Google 52

MatthewVD writes "German scientists have modified Google's PageRank algorithm to scan tumors and learn more about how cancers progress. PageRank orders results based on how other web pages are connected to them via hyperlinks; the modified algorithm, NetRank, scans how genes and proteins in a cell are similarly connected through a network of interactions with their neighbors. This approach could also yield new therapies to help combat tumors."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oh Geez (0)

StylishGuy (2642001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039089)

This is nothing more than some twisting to make it "nerdy" article. The original pagerank algorithm is just about relations between different pages. Gee, how did not anyone think about there being relation between different body parts when cancer spreads??

Re:Oh Geez (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039113)

Hey. Are you expelling flatulence out of your own anus right now? Because I sure am. My day's been great! Thanks for asking!

Re:Oh Geez (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039547)

It's just the Bonch-bot again.

don't encourage it.

Re:Oh Geez (5, Funny)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039189)

Your tumor's linked to you thyroid, your thyroid's linked to your larynx, Google's gonna steal all your data...

Serious question: will their be an AdSense-style scheme for recurring cancer-sufferers to accrue referral income?

Re:Oh Geez (-1, Offtopic)

ReturnReturnReturn (2642467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039519)

Around a year ago, I was mindlessly surfing the internet (as I often do) when I came across an enigmatic web page. The page, which looked like a warning from my web browser, informed me that I had a virus installed on my computer and that to fix it, I should install a strange anti-virus program that I'd never heard of (which I found peculiar considering the fact that I already had anti-virus software installed on my computer). Despite having reservations about installing it, I did so anyway (since it appeared to be a legitimate warning).

I cannot even fathom what I was thinking at that time. Soon after attempting to install the so-called anti-virus software, my desktop background image changed into a large red warning sign, warnings about malware began making appearances all over the screen, and a strange program I'd never seen before began nagging me to buy a program to remove the viruses. What should have been obvious previously then became clear to me: that software was a virus. Frustrated by my own stupidity, I began tossing objects around the room and cursing at no one in particular.

After I calmed down, I reluctantly took my computer to a local PC repair shop and steeled myself for the incoming fee. When I entered, I noticed that there were four men working there, and all of them seemed incredibly nice (the shop itself was clean and stylish, too). After I described the situation to them, they gave me a big smile (as if they'd seen and heard it all before), accepted the job, and told me that the computer would be working like new again in a few days. At the time, I was confident that their words held a great degree of truth to them.

The very next day, while I was using a local library's computer and browsing the internet, I came across a website dedicated to a certain piece of software. It claimed that it could fix up my PC and make it run like new again. I knew, right then, merely from viewing a single page on the website, that it was telling the truth. I cursed myself for not discovering this excellent piece of software before I had taken my PC to the PC repair shop. "It would've saved me money. Oh, well. I'm sure they'll get the job done just fine. I can always use this software in the future to conserve money." Those were my honest thoughts at the time.

Two days later, my phone rang after I returned home from work. I immediately was able to identify the number: it was the PC repair shop's phone number. Once I answered, something strange occurred; the one on the other end of the line spoke, in a small, tormented voice, "Return. Return. Return. Return. Return." No matter what I said to him, he would not stop repeating that one word. Unsettled by this odd occurrence, I traveled to the PC repair shop to find out exactly what happened.

Upon arriving inside the building, I looked upon the shop, which was a shadow of its former self, in shock. There were countless wires all over the floor, smashed computer parts scattered in every direction I looked, fallen shelves on the ground, desks flipped over on the ground, and, to make matters even worse, there was blood splattered all over the wall. Being the reasonable, upstanding, college-educated citizen that I was, I immediately concluded that the current state of the shop was due to none other than an employee's stress from work. I looked around a bit more, spotted three bodies sitting against the wall, and in the middle of the room, I spotted my computer. "Ah. There it is." Directly next to it was the shop's owner, sitting on the ground in the fetal position.

When I questioned him, he kept repeating a single thing again and again: "Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped! Cannot be stopped!" I could not get him to tell me what was wrong, but after a bit of pondering, I quickly figured out precisely what happened: they were unable to fix my computer like they had promised. Disgusted by their failure, I turned to the shop's owner (who I now noticed had a gun to his head), and spat in his general direction. I then turned my back to him as if I was attempting to say that nothing behind me was worth my attention, and said to him, "Pathetic. Absolutely, positively pathetic. I asked you to do a single thing for me, and yet you failed even at that. Were I you, I'd be disgusted by myself, and I'd probably even take my own life. Such a worthless existence isn't even worthy of receiving my gaze!"

After saying that, I left the shop with my computer as if absolutely nothing had occurred there. And, indeed, there was nothing in that shop that was worthy of my attention. Still understandably disgusted by their inability to fulfill the promise, I said to myself, "I'll have to take this into my own hands." After getting into my car to drive home, I heard a gun shot from inside the repair shop. Being that it originated from the worthless owner of that shop, I promptly decided to ignore it.

Once I returned home, I, filled to the brim with confidence, immediately installed the software that I'd found a few days ago: MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . The results were exactly what I expected, and yet, I was still absolutely in awe of MyCleanPC's [mycleanpc.com] wonderful performance. MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] removed every last virus from my computer in the span of a few seconds. I simply couldn't believe it; MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] accomplished in moments what "professionals" had failed to accomplish after days of work!

MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] is outstanding! My computer is running faster than ever! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] came through with flying colours where no one else could! MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] totally cleaned up my system, and increased my speed!

If you're having computer troubles, I highly recommend the use of MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . Don't rely on worthless "professionals" to fix up your PC! Use MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] if you want your PC to be overclocking, if you want your gigabits to be zippin' and zoomin', and if you want your PC to be virus-free.

Even if you aren't having any visible problems with your PC, I still wholeheartedly recommend the use of MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] . You could still be infected by a virus that isn't directly visible to you, and MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will fix that right up. What do you have to lose? In addition to fixing any problems, MyCleanPC [mycleanpc.com] will, of course, speed up all of your gigabits until every component on your PC is overclocking like new!

MyCleanPC: For a Cleaner, Safer PC. [mycleanpc.com]

Re:Oh Geez (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039607)

Is it me or are these puerile spams becoming more and more violent? Would anyone actually fall for this crap anyway? Maybe we need to use PageRank/NetRank to find who these guys are and clean the internet from THIS cancer... ugh.

Re:Oh Geez (-1, Offtopic)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039663)

I'm imagining that soon they will be a novelisation of Doom 3 where CleanMyPC manages to condemn the Devil back to the deepest depths of Hell. Sadly, I actually really look forward to these spam posts.

Re:Oh Geez (-1, Offtopic)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040171)

And yet, sadly, this will be the most entertaining thing on Slashdot I'll read today. Lord knows I don't read the articles.

Re:Oh Geez (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040375)

Google can steal all my cancer. I wouldn't mind one bit. I wouldn't even mind the ads, in that case. ;-)

Re:Oh Geez (1)

Jakeula (1427201) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039239)

I assume the news is more about the fact that researchers are actually using a modified Google algorithm. It doesn't say anywhere that it's a new idea to look at how your body is connected to combat disease. All this information can be found simply from the title, and the Google icon next to it. I could be wrong however, and maybe this entire article went over my head.

Re:Oh Geez (2, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039321)

It's not a "google" algorithm. Google's contribution to science isn't the ranking algorithm, it's the _scale_ of application on the order of billions of nodes. People have been doing calculations using "PageRank" for about a century before Google was founded (by hand obviously).

Re:Oh Geez (2)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039377)

Gee, how did not anyone think about there being relation between different body parts when cancer spreads??

Well yeah, that's how science research works. The bloody obvious must be consensually established before it gets considered a valid work hypothesis or argument. And once a consensus takes hold on the wrong conclusion, it takes an impressive amount of contrarian data to shift opinions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiable#Kuhn_and_Lakatos [wikipedia.org]

Re:Oh Geez (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40040031)

It has nothing to do with anatomical connection between body parts. That's a naive assumption. People have known that cancer spreads from the original tumor to a metastatic site via blood and lymph vessels for a long time. The article is about identifying correlations between changes in expression of genes and proteins, and how these are linked to cancer progression and metastasis. Believe it or not, but every cell in your body is a machine with millions, if not billions, of working parts. One small change in one gene can have dramatic consequences on a number of molecular signaling pathways. Biological, and specifically cancer biological, research has long been focused on deciphering these molecular pathways and identifying the connections between them. So there's already a wealth of data, the key is making sense of it, generating hypotheses, and then testing the hypotheses. So, any additional tools in the arsenal are more than welcome.

Granted, I have no clue if the new application of Google's algorithm is useful or just something flashy to get a publication. But to dismiss the idea behind it as trivial is misguided.

Re:Oh Geez (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040455)

This is nothing more than some twisting to make it "nerdy" article. The original pagerank algorithm is just about relations between different pages. Gee, how did not anyone think about there being relation between different body parts when cancer spreads??

Amen. This is EXACLTY how every does it, and always has. Where do you think google got it's idea from?

Re:Oh Geez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40040913)

Go back to bed, bonch.

Re:Oh Geez (1)

evilRhino (638506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40041233)

There are a few extra layers of abstraction here. They are analyzing genes, which express themselves on a cellular level, which aggregate to form body parts.

Re:Oh Geez (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40045279)

This is nothing more than some twisting to make it "nerdy" article.

You don't consider biochemists to be nerds? Not geeky maybe but definitely nerdy.

Markov? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039107)

This is just another markov model, just like PageRank. Move along people, nothing to see here.

Re:Markov? (1)

StylishGuy (2642001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039137)

Exactly. The funny thing is, markov model is also one of the basic things used to game Google's algorithm itself, with the autogeneration of content.

Which makes me wonder, on the all things that interest geeks, why do they ignore things like communication? Why is there no comprehensive research done towards generation human readable text by automation?

Re:Markov? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039187)

Which makes me wonder, on the all things that interest geeks, why do they ignore things like communication? Why is there no comprehensive research done towards generation human readable text by automation?

Yourself make seem generation almost readable text by automation. Will you confirmation Turing test on the soon?

Re:Markov? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039203)

Why is there no comprehensive research done towards generation human readable text by automation?

There is. It's just very difficult to generate useful text, moreso automatically. Markov chains give you good results (considering the little effort required) but the text is gibberish. I don't think there's a "killer application" for this, though. Find a way to kill people with it and sure enough we'll have it in a few years.

Re:Markov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039245)

Find a way to make money with it and sure enough we'll have it in a few years.

Here, FTFY. Markov chains already have money-making use - generating plausible text-like garbage to fool spam filters. When anti-spam gets smart enough to identify them (that's not soon), someone will make a better algorithm.

Or maybe just use random snippets from books. Works too.

Re:Markov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039249)

Find a way to kill people with it and sure enough we'll have it in a few years.

Oh, aren't you the worldly, cynical hipster?
Can you kill people with e-mail? No.
Can you kill people with instant messaging? No.
Can you kill people with an electronic spreadsheet, document, or database? No, no, and (wait for it) no.
Yet, each one of these applications is nearly ubiquitous.
Next time, ease off on the sarcastic karma-whoring; you had a decent post until that last sentence.

Re:Markov? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039215)

Economics mostly. It's still cheaper to hire a bunch of people from China/India/Alabama or other third-world location. Generating text by automation seems to require a pretty strong AI, and that's hard to get.

Re:Markov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039333)

There are many examples of the Markov model being used to generate random text in syntax. Here is a sample from one that goofs around with interpreted Arabian [mob.net] language based insults:

We no speak english so nice so some of these make no sense perfectly. We many sorries.

May a crowd of nymphomaniac single mothers snuggle with genitals while rummaging through your freakin' huge dog.
May 96 chalky half-single mothers, half-wedding singers remark "Oops, I crapped my pants" to Janet Reno after waxing your hotel minibar.
May a hogshead of homeless grave diggers suck on Barbie Dolls after genetically cloning your crazy little yappy dog.
May 3,000 mutant ligers paint a picture of Gumbi while tinkering with your fungus.
May a buttload of moldy convenient store clerks fixate on Diabetic Desserts while having a bowel movement on your treehouse.
May 2,000 ripe CRNet Owners insert nipples behind your lice-infested silly putty.
May a buttload of African American Twinkie salesmen withdraw from nipples at a fund-raising event for your tasty intestines.
May a plethora of crafty retards taser John Travolta within your imaginary car trunk.
May one too many aerodynamic lawyers build up a tolerance to John Travolta after genetically cloning your filthy car trunk.
May 911 funny elected officials dip their balls in Diabetic Desserts while standing on your hairy demonic cat.
May 64 bi-sexual Fem-Bots withdraw from weenies while rummaging through your wart covered little yappy dog.
May 411 strange Twinkie salesmen regurgitate yogurt by your shrunken golf cart.
May a mob of strange ball-lickers watch "Bakin' Bacon with Macon" with bacon bits beside your spastic pet jelly-fish.
May an overabundance of sticky elected officials consume mass quantities of sporks after shoving glass shards into a portion of your shower.
May a herd of withered Twinkie salesmen have an intense craving for rabid dogs topped with single sauce after they steal jelly beans after setting fire to your dreaded decapitated head.
May 42 skanky Elvis impersonators pay homage to the god of poopie poopie poop poopity poop poop poopie poop poop poop by sacrificing urinal cakes after pledging allegiance to your sand castle.
May one million stinky half-wedding singers, half-porn stars crossbreed with strange Colon Blow Cereal after hearing a loud *pop* coming from your neighbor's sand castle.
May a gross of funkedified Super Mario Brothers toss your salad with lepers while fending off your cat's skid-marked undies.
May 96 creamy extra-terrestrials masturbate their a can of Lysol disinfectant spray after being forced to smell your liquified dinner guest.
May a hogshead of soaking cannibals smell like a mixture of ass and Ronald McDonald by your holiest of holys.
May you witness of my favorite Christins sell their souls to the devil for a box of monkey brains while having a bowel movement on your expensive prosthetic forehead.
May 2 stinky aerobics instructors go down on government agents after being forced to smell your gnarly barnyard animals.
May a crowd of unshaven elected officials place their buttocks on the office copying machine next to Saran Wrap within a portion of your Prime Number Shitting Bear.
May a buttload of hairy telemarketers pay homage to the god of Big League Chew by sacrificing easter eggs around your homemade blue and red tights.
May 3,000 naked Hare Krishnas pay homage to the god of a can of Lysol disinfectant spray by sacrificing icecube trays after genetically cloning your calcium enriched shower.

Insulter v2.0 BETA 6 by Mike Newman
Words by Ted Harapat, Mike Newman, and others

Re:Markov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039447)

"May 42 skanky Elvis impersonators pay homage to the god of poopie poopie poop poopity poop poop poopie poop poop poop by sacrificing urinal cakes after pledging allegiance to your sand castle."

If it's so bad then how did it sum up religion so nicely?

Re:Markov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039823)

Why is there no comprehensive research done towards generation human readable text by automation?

It's because "journalists" are cheaper than such researchers, for the time being.

Re:Markov? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039707)

That... is the weirdest definition of Markov model I have ever heard, but I guess Wikipedia agrees with you.

Its 2127Hz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039129)

Royal Rife's stuff worked.

reverse engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039207)

than we can reverse engineer their biological works and cut off teh internetz astroturferz and trollz using google?

So the cure for cancer . . . is porn . . . ? (-1, Flamebait)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039219)

Because that what Google searches always turn up for me. I still don't understand that weird kink involving WebSphere WSRP (what I goggled for), a vat of cottage cheese and alligator clamps.

Re:So the cure for cancer . . . is porn . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039425)

That's because Google now tailors its results for each user - surf less porn and Google won't be so keen to help you find it!

Re:So the cure for cancer . . . is porn . . . ? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039715)

Are you sure it was cottage cheese and alligator clamps? Not sour cream or banana clips or something? I ... can't reproduce your search results.

Re:So the cure for cancer . . . is porn . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039831)

Porn fixes everything.

I still don't understand that weird kink involving WebSphere WSRP (what I goggled for), a vat of cottage cheese and alligator clamps.

Stop using the German Researcher customized version of Google's algorithm. You might want to avoid the Brazilian Researcher customized version as well.

Google's? (1)

slasho81 (455509) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039227)

The technique these researchers and Google Search use is known from the 1950s. Google didn't invent it. Just as Steve Jobs didn't invent the smartphone, Mark Zuckerberg didn't invent social networks, and Bill Gates didn't invent the PC.

Re:Google's? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039479)

Doesn't matter. They have the patent. That's all that counts.

So, expect any future cancer cures to either be blocked from the market, or served with craploads of ads.

Ballmer Was Right about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039237)

According to Steve [google.ca] Linux and Google are a cancer!

Tumor cell post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039313)

(Score:-1, Carcinogenic)

So will moderators have the power to delete cancer cells, then?

All fucking journos must fucking die (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039407)

  • Researchers: "[NetRank operates] in a manner similar to Google's PageRank"
  • Retard masquerading as a professional journalist: "Researchers modified PageRank to develop NetRank"

Die. Just die in a fire. Die, die, die.

Re:All fucking journos must fucking die (2)

durathor (450646) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040163)

Seriously, did you RTFA where the researcher himself described the algorithm as being based on PageRank

“We first experimented with our own ideas on network algorithms until we realized that what we needed existed already with the PageRank algorithm, so why reinvent the wheel?” Winter recalled.
“Our PageRank-based algorithm singles out proteins in the cancer cells that seem to either promote or suppress disease progression,” Winter said.

How about the abstract of the research paper in question, which specifically mentions Google Page Rank
http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002511 [ploscompbiol.org]

Are you sure it's the journalist who's the retard here?

Re:All fucking journos must fucking die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40040359)

Well, the question is, is modified an accurate word for utilization an algorithm from abstract rather then any actual code. If anything, i'd be more inclined to use the word, *implemented* a modified version of the page range algorithm.

Re:All fucking journos must fucking die (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40041997)

Well, the question is, is utilization an accurate word for USING something or putting it to USE? If anything, I'd be more inclined to use the word, *USAGE* a real word that wasn't invented by business majors.

Re:All fucking journos must fucking die (1)

Kurrel (1213064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40041963)

PageRank is designed around the 'random surfer' model (15% chance to jump to a random webpage) and returns the probability that a surfer will arrive back at the same page after a large number of links. A node that only has two edges can easily have the highest PageRank.

If all they want is to find highly-connected nodes, then the Oracle of Bacon [oracleofbacon.org] -style average length solution would work just as well.

Re:All fucking journos must fucking die (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#40043097)

Researchers: "[NetRank operates] in a manner similar to Google's PageRank"
Retard masquerading as a professional journalist: "Researchers modified PageRank to develop NetRank"

Die. Just die in a fire. Die, die, die.

Researchers' paper: "NetRank is based on Google's PageRank algorithm."

Read. Just read the article. Read, read, read.

Interesting idea, flawed paper (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039487)

The idea is interesting but the paper seems flawed. They integrate data and then look at how genes are positioned in the network with page-rank. The problem is that genes positioning in the network is highly dependent on how studied they are. Therefore, very well studied will get a high "NetRank." Genes known to be predictive of cancer progression are very well studied (lots of fudning in that area). This means the algorithm is basically finding and returning a list of what we already know, and it turns out that what we know is reasonably predictive when you combine 400+ markers.

I'm surprised this made it by peer review without additional experiments to assess the role that this bias plays.

Thigh bone's connected to the ... (2)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039657)

The thigh bone's connected to the leg bone; the leg bone's connected to the ankle bone...

PageRank is no search algorithm (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#40039711)

look at the name, it says it all .. its a ranking algorithm.

Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40039841)

thank youu webmaster...

www.kamsis.com

Okay google I get (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40040097)

Look Google we get it you still take your whole 'don't be evil' thing serious but I think you might be brown nosing a bit now.

This is why Medical Science is garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40040147)

Has anyone else noticed that you can say anything, append it with, "...which may help reveal new therapies for X", and basically get published or funded?

For example:

I want to perform a study of posting on Slashdot while eating pizza and ruining the lives of suckers with potential who have signed up for graduate school. We believe that there is a relationship between peperoni and cancer. By identifying the relationships between pizza eaten and the amount of cancer a patient dreams about, we may discover new tumor treatments.

BULL SHIT.

Medical "Science" is thte worst example of research in academia.

Colour me surprised if... (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40041401)

Colour me surprised if cancer cells use Google to fight back.

Spare CPU cycles for cancer? (1)

MotherErich (535455) | more than 2 years ago | (#40041649)

That should make this guy [slashdot.org] happy.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?