Project Goals

The main goal of the FAST-PATH research programme is to contribute significantly to our understanding of the mechanisms and pathology underlying prostate cancer. Above all, the results of our research in this area will ultimately benefit the cancer patients by refining the pathological process used in prostate cancer detection and management.
In summary, FAST-PATH is focused on streamlining digital pathology via the development of data standardisation, integration and discovery tools.

FAST-PATH is centred on taking advantage of the convergence between informatics and diagnostics that is a key feature of the emergent digital pathology arena. Our consortium brings a range of advanced digital pathology approaches from both academic and industrial sectors to bear on key issues in prostate cancer diagnostics.

The FAST-PATH programme has four principal objectives:

1.    To develop and apply automated pattern recognition tools for discrimination of morphological subtypes in prostate cancer

2.    To develop and apply automated image analysis approaches for quantitation of prognostic biomarkers in prostate cancer

3.    To design and develop of high-performance computing solutions for the high-throughput analysis of prostate cancer samples

4.    To implement an online content-based image retrieval, annotation and quantitation system

The wide availability of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) detection approaches revolutionised prostate cancer screening and ushered in the ‘PSA era’, resulting in decreased metastasis and death. However, the ubiquitous application of PSA screening has also led to over-detection and over-treatment. Although the European Randomized Screening Trial for Prostate Cancer recently demonstrated a more than 20% decrease in mortality compared to a non-screening group, the number of patients to be treated was 48 in order to save one patient from death due to prostate cancer.