Reify Corporation
 machine visual screening for drug discovery and development
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Wallerian Degeneration
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Neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and others share morphological features of axonal degradation that precede the death of the cell body as an early event in disease progression. Currently, the limited methods employed to quantify protection afforded by candidate molecules that may prevent, delay or slow the degradation process, such as measurement of longest remaining neurite, halo area or percent degenerated axons are highly manpower intensive, subjective and are impractical for high throughput drug screening.

To overcome these limitations and enable higher throughput drug screening, Reify has developed Neurosight&trade, to supply a machine vision solution to quantify morphometric changes observed under visible or fluorescent conditions during cellular degeneration. By focusing on aggregate change indices, Neurosight generates self-similarity measurements for a series of images taken of the same field over time and allow researchers to compare any time point to any other whether at trial initiation, end or any stage in between.

Several critical aspects of Neurosight’s design allow it to approach the sensitivity of human scoring. First, it utilizes robust image registration algorithms for precise alignment of images from different time-points to compensate for misalignment. In a series of assays which comprised the data set for a recently published paper, images misregistered by up to 10% were accurately aligned by the program. Second, to account for potential differences in cell density between cultures, an image mask was created to distinguish the area of interest for self-similarity analysis to assure that the self-similarity calculation was derived from neurite-populated areas only. Additional benefits of masking include its elimination of spurious data due to new growth and the potential to be applied to dispersed neuronal cultures, thereby expanding screening opportunities.