"Anatomic pathology is an essential element of virtually every cancer diagnosis and the demand for it is ever-increasing. Our goal is to develop integrated digital solutions that enhance the operational efficiency and productivity of pathology departments, as well as increasing diagnostic confidence", stated Bob van Gemen, General Manager of Philips Digital Pathology. "I am convinced that our partnership with Dako, with its leading market position and expert knowledge in detecting and quantifying specific biomarkers in cancer tissue, will significantly accelerate our clinical applications development programme."
"We are very pleased to announce this collaboration with Philips, a leading company in the health care industry that is committed to entering the digital pathology market", stated Lars Holmkvist, CEO of Dako. "By joining forces with Philips, we will be able to deliver highly competitive diagnostic tools based on Philips' extensive clinical expertise and technology know-how and Dako's expertise in advanced staining and image analysis in order to benefit pathology laboratories, pathologists and ultimately patients."
Currently, anatomic pathology work flows to examine tissue samples are based on the microscope, through which pathologists examine tissue sections mounted on glass slides and treated with different stains. The staining enhances the contrast between, or reveals the presence of, cellular and molecular components such as cell nuclei or specific proteins. Accurate interpretation of the results is critical to the diagnosis and staging of each individual patient's disease and requires a great deal of skill and experience. Digitizing the images that pathologists normally view through a microscope may enable the introduction of objective and quantitative image analysis tools.
Dr. Clive Taylor, MD, PhD, Professor at University of Southern California, USA, and a renowned expert in pathology, expressed about the collaboration: "Digital pathology has been long in gestation, in comparison to radiology, where images also are the currency of practice, and where image acquisition, transfer, interpretation and storage is almost entirely digital. In part, this lag is because acquisition of histopathology images is dependent upon a 100 year old technique of 'tissue fixation', sectioning and staining. In part, it is because, somewhat surprisingly, fully digitized histopathology images are much larger than CT files, and difficult to manage and analyze. Progress has been slow because there has been no single institution, or company, that embraces both of these areas. It is exciting that collaborations like that between Dako and Philips are now bringing diverse but appropriate expertise to bear on implementing a full digital pathology programme."
A fast pathology slide scanner and an associated image management system form the basis of Philips' proposed integrated solutions for digitizing pathology work flows. The Philips-Dako collaboration will initially focus on leveraging Dako's image analysis software for tissue-based breast cancer diagnosis using its reagents for staining HER2, Estrogen Receptor (ER), Progesterone Receptor (PR), p53 and Ki-67 proteins. The detection and quantification of these proteins in biopsy tissue are highly relevant for the classification of breast cancers and the selection of appropriate therapy. Philips and Dako will also explore the possibility of extending the collaboration to include image analysis software for immunohistology-based prostate and colon cancer diagnostics.
Dako, based in Denmark, is a global expert in tissue-based cancer diagnostics. Hospital and research laboratories worldwide use Dako's know-how, reagents, instruments and software to make precise diagnoses and determine the most effective treatment for patients suffering from cancer. Employing more than 1000 people and being present in more than 80 countries, Dako covers essentially all of the anatomic pathology markets globally. Dako is owned by a private equity fund, EQT.
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 more than 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 company news is available in the VMW July 2010 article Philips and RXi Pharmaceuticals sign agreement to jointly research innovative image-guided therapy concepts based on RNAi.