A novel end-to-end classifier using domain transferred deep convolutional neural networks for biomedical images

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67 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives: Highly accurate classification of biomedical images is an essential task in the clinical diagnosis of numerous medical diseases identified from those images. Traditional image classification methods combined with hand-crafted image feature descriptors and various classifiers are not able to effectively improve the accuracy rate and meet the high requirements of classification of biomedical images. The same also holds true for artificial neural network models directly trained with limited biomedical images used as training data or directly used as a black box to extract the deep features based on another distant dataset. In this study, we propose a highly reliable and accurate end-to-end classifier for all kinds of biomedical images via deep learning and transfer learning.
Methods: We first apply domain transferred deep convolutional neural network for building a deep model; and then develop an overall deep learning architecture based on the raw pixels of original biomedical images using supervised training. In our model, we do not need the manual design of the feature space, seek an effective feature vector classifier or segment specific detection object and image patches, which are the main technological difficulties in the adoption of traditional image classification methods. Moreover, we do not need to be concerned with whether there are large training sets of annotated biomedical images, affordable parallel computing resources featuring GPUs or long times to wait for training a perfect deep model, which are the main problems to train deep neural networks for biomedical image classification as observed in recent works.
Results: With the utilization of a simple data augmentation method and fast convergence speed, our algorithm can achieve the best accuracy rate and outstanding classification ability for biomedical images. We have evaluated our classifier on several well-known public biomedical datasets and compared it with several state-of-the-art approaches.

Conclusions: We propose a robust automated end-to-end classifier for biomedical images based on a domain transferred deep convolutional neural network model that shows a highly reliable and accurate performance which has been confirmed on several public biomedical image datasets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-293
Number of pages11
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • biomedical image classification
  • deep learning
  • convolutional neural network
  • transfer learning
  • data augmentation


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