The world of pathology in terms of the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms in diseases such as cancer and in gaining an understanding of the intricate interactions between cell and tissue structures, is undergoing something of a revolution.
The rise of the science of digital pathology, where mounted tissue samples are scanned at an exquisite resolution for the purposes of maintaining a permanent record, for rapid information sharing or for the subsequent application of image analysis, has provided the pathologist with a raft of powerful tools which are helping to shed new light on disease processes and simultaneously enabling the streamlining of drug discovery programmes.
Digital analysis supports the Pathologist workload allowing for more accurate and consistent findings and allows for almost instantaneous collaborations on a global scale.
One company that is quickly gaining a big reputation in this industry is Northern Ireland based PathXLPathXL, who released the award winning TissueMark® application in 2014.
What is TissueMark?
TissueMark is an easy to use application designed for the automated identification of tumor tissue on digital slides. TissueMark technology combines sophisticated image analysis algorithms with a straightforward user interface allowing pathologists to quickly generate more accurate and consistent information on the precise content of tumour tissue samples
Recently PathXL announced an upgrade to TissueMark, an upgrade that again pushes back the boundaries of the industry. TissueMark now includes three separate methods for the enumeration of tumor cell numbers within a target tissue section, allowing for even greater accuracy when analysing tumor cell contention digital slides. This new development was announced to the world at the Global Engage Digital Pathology Congress held in London in December 2014.
What does this upgrade mean for the pathologist?
Accurately estimating the tumor cell content of a tissue section via visual examination is known to be particularly challenging and a number of recent studies reveal substantial variance in manual estimates from both an inter- and intra-pathologist perspective. Other research has also shown that pathologists have a propensity to over-estimate tumor cell content which when required for a down-stream molecular analysis can lead to false negative results and the wasting of expensive reagents on samples with insufficient tumor content.
The new TissueMark tumor cell counting capability has been carefully validated against time-consuming manual counts in lung, colorectal and breast tumor sections and shows strong concordance with the actual numbers of tumor cells present in the sample.
Des Speed, CEO of PathXL explained that;
“Automated tumor cell counting is one of the most sought after applications in the field of digital imaging. I’m proud of the work our team have done here in bringing together several different approaches to crack this problem. The new TissueMark product will prove hugely valuable to those labs that need to feed accurate tumor content information into the molecular pathology process and for those wishing to establish strong quality and audit trails”
Jonathon Tunstall, Director of Product Strategy, added
“We are continually looking at ways to extend the capability of the TissueMark product line and in using the power of digital pathology to make a real difference to lab workload by automating some of the more tedious and time-consuming manual processes.
We’ve worked hard on these counting methods and on the TissueMark user experience and I feel we’ve developed an important application here which will provide the pathology lab with really valuable time and cost savings.”
For more information on TissueMark, visit www.pathxl.com.