In biomedical images, structure of interest, particularly the soft tissue structures, such as the heart, airways, bronchial and arterial trees often have grey-scale and textural characteristics similar to other structures in the image, making it difficult to segment them using only gray- scale and texture information. However, these objects can be visually recognized by their unique shapes and sizes. In this paper we discuss, what we believe to be, a novel, simple scheme for extracting features based on regional shapes. To test the effectiveness of these features for image segmentation (classification), we use an artificial neural network and a statistical cluster analysis technique. The proposed shape-based feature extraction algorithm computes regional shape vectors (RSVs) for all pixels that meet a certain threshold criteria. The distance from each such pixel to a boundary is computed in 8 directions (or in 26 directions for a 3-D image). Together, these 8 (or 26) values represent the pixel's (or voxel's) RSV. All RSVs from an image are used to train a multi-layered perceptron neural network which uses these features to 'learn' a suitable classification strategy. To clearly distinguish the desired object from other objects within an image, several examples from inside and outside the desired object are used for training. Several examples are presented to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of our algorithm. Both synthetic and actual biomedical images are considered. Future extensions to this algorithm are also discussed.