Sunday, June 03, 2007

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0556 - CAVEman and Cancer

I'm more than a little late on this entry.

CAVEman was announced at the University of Calgary about 10 days ago and featured on a variety of television morning shows. It is a story of Canadian research and development and technological innovation that may well help cancer patients in the not-too-distant future.

The concept is simple. CAVEman is a 4D (yes, the 4th dimension is time, meaning that the images can be animated to illustrate processes such as surgical treatment or the development of tumor growth) human body atlas in which a virtual reality simulation of human anatomy is presented inside the CAVE, a cube-shaped room some have called the "research Holodeck", thereby ensuring all Star Trek fans' ears will perk up immediately. The model appears to float in space with various systems being made visible at the touch of a simple hand-held control.

CAVEman is only one product/service coming from the University of Calgary's Sun Center or Excellence for Visual Genomics. The link with SUN Microsystems Inc. has been rewarding for the Center and indicative of the Java-centric nature of the products and services they are using to map the human genome and to outline human anatomy. If you're interested, you can even download some Java-based 3D demonstrations of human molecules, the human heart, and the human skeletal structure which you manipulate directly on your own desktop.

The link with cancer treatment and knowledge is genetics. CAVEman should link genetics-based treatment with an immersive 3D experience of both cancer disease processes and treatment modalities such as various drug therapies.

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