Philips to unveil breakthrough in digital pathology and to sign memorandum of understanding with Definiens

Washington D.C. 18 March 2010At the United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology 2010 annual meeting, held March 20-26 in Washington DC, USA, Royal Philips Electronics has unveiled a work-in-progress pathology slide scanner and associated image management system. These prototype systems will form the basis of the company's future integrated digital pathology solutions. The prototype slide scanner will be designed to overcome one of the major hurdles for mainstream introduction of digital pathology - the availability of a scanning technology that combines ease of use, speed and high image quality. In addition, Philips and Definiens, a Germany-based company specializing in image analysis solutions, have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop and market clinical decision support solutions for digital pathology.


Philips' ambitions in digital pathology fit its integrated care cycle approach to cancer care. Anatomic pathology continues to play an ever-increasing role in the diagnosis of cancer, with the vast majority of diagnoses being made or confirmed by a pathologist. By digitizing the images that pathologists normally view through a microscope, Philips' goal is to offer solutions that help to enhance the operational efficiency and productivity of pathology departments, as well as increasing diagnostic confidence. The expected benefits to patients include improved turnaround time for lab results.

"Personalized medicine will require a complete and quantitative picture of the patient's medical condition, and I am convinced that the digitization of pathology will contribute to this", stated John Gilbertson, M.D., Associate Chief of Pathology and Director of Pathology Informatics, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School. "But for digital solutions to fit in busy clinical histopathology labs, the availability of fast scanners and reliable, effective image management systems is key."

"In the face of a constantly growing demand for pathology services, digitization of pathology images looks like an obvious way of increasing productivity and efficiency. Up until now, however, digital pathology has been hampered by the lack of equipment to capture and process the images in a way that fits with standard pathology work flows", commented Bob van Gemen, General Manager of Philips Digital Pathology. "With the development of this prototype slide scanner and image management system, we have made an important step towards providing pathologists with solutions to support them in their diagnosis, decision making and reporting."

Philips is developing its prototype slide scanner and image management system in close collaboration with leading pathology departments to meet the requirements for a seamless fit into existing work flows. Based on analysis of the throughput requirements of pathology departments, the scanner will be designed to achieve a total slide handling and imaging time of less than 50 seconds per slide, with the ability to pre-load up to 300 slides. To efficiently store, retrieve and view the digital images, the prototype image management system will be designed to handle data rates as high as 500 MB/sec.

In collaboration with clinical partners, Philips is about to undertake clinical studies using its prototype high-throughput pathology slide scanner and image management system.

Leveraging its expertise in medical imaging and health care informatics solutions - e.g. radiology Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), Philips is committed to delivering highly integrated solutions for digital pathology. Accurate and robust image analysis applications for quantifying biomarkers and histological features in tissue samples, both of which are core competencies at Definiens, are an essential element of such solutions.

The intended initial project between Philips and Definiens will focus on immunohistology-based breast cancer diagnostics, which includes the detection of biomarkers HER2, Estrogen Receptor (ER), Progesterone Receptor (PR), Ki67 and p53. Philips and Definiens also plan to investigate solutions for other cancers such as prostate and colon cancer.

"The memorandum of understanding with Definiens underpins Philips' objective of offering a full suite of image analysis tools that can be used in combination with mainstream histological staining techniques and procedures in pathology", stated Bob van Gemen, General Manager of Philips Digital Pathology. "As a result of ageing societies, there will be many more sick people in the world that need to be accurately and efficiently diagnosed. I am convinced that the combined knowledge of Philips and Definiens will result in meaningful innovations in pathology to speed up procedures and help pathologists in their decision making."

"We are very excited about this best-in-class alliance that brings together Philips, a well known leader in medical imaging and image management systems, and Definiens, the world-wide leader in image intelligence", stated Thomas Heydler, CEO of Definiens. "This collaboration will play a major role in advancing health intelligence and contribute towards more accurate clinical diagnosis and treatment, which are two key hallmarks in the drive towards affordable and personalized health care."

Currently, anatomic pathologists examine tissue slices, after treating them with appropriate stains, through a microscope. The aim of staining is to reveal specific biomarkers of disease, such as cancer-related proteins, or to enhance contrast. Digitization of the images is now enabling the use of objective and quantitative image analysis tools. The expected benefits of this development include enhanced operational efficiency and productivity for pathology departments, and increased diagnostic confidence.

Definiens is the number one Enterprise Image Intelligence company for translational research and clinical diagnostics. From digital pathology to medical imaging, Definiens is empowering personalized, more affordable health care through a deeper understanding of images. The Definiens Cognition Network Technology, developed by Nobel laureate Professor Gerd Binnig and his team, is an advanced and robust context-based approach modelled on the powerful human cognitive perception processes to extract intelligence from images. The company is headquartered in Munich, Germany and has offices in the United States. More company news is available in the VMW August 2007 article Definiens reveals an integrated data management approach for image analysis in life sciences enterprises.

Royal Philips Electronics of The Netherlands is a diversified Health and Well-being company, focused on improving people's lives through timely innovations. As a world expert in health care, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of "sense and simplicity". Headquartered in The Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 116.000 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of 23 billion euro in 2009, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home health care, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in flat TV, male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral health care. More pathology news from Philips can be found in the VMW November 2009 article Philips brings the digital revolution to the pathology laboratory.

Source: Philips

[Medical IT News][Calendar][Virtual Medical Worlds Community][News on Advanced IT]