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Virtual Microscopy: At the Cutting Edge of Pathology
Jaleh Mansouri, M.D.
Whole slide imaging (WSI) by digital scanners and virtual microscopy have had a major impact on pathology for more than a decade in such areas as telepathology, medical education, research, and quality control. Significant challenges for the practical application of virtual microscopy have included the development of adequate compressive techniques, optimal resolution (currently 0.5 microns/pixel at 20x), and the reduction of cost and time in scanning entire slides. Despite these barriers, a number of vendors offer attractive digital systems (e.g. Olympus) comprised of automated microscopes, digital scanners (e.g. Hamamatsu, Aperio), cameras, and computer hardware and software.
Various techniques and applications in virtual microscopy have emerged with advances in digital technology. For example, virtual 3D microscopy (x, y, and z planes) enables the pathologist to perform virtual focusing (i.e. creation of a virtual 3D slide) by acquiring multiple images of a single slide at various focus planes. A useful technique in immunohistochemistry employs digital segmentation of nuclei in tissue based on known morphological parameters for quantitative analysis of cytologic grade and staining patterns (e.g. HER2/neu amplification). While these innovative methods may potentially enhance accurate and efficient diagnosis, they must be rigorously validated using the gold standard of conventional microscopy before they can be widely implemented into clinical practice.
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Leica Microsystems is a leading global developer and manufacturer of a broad range of innovative, high-tech, precision optical systems for the imaging, measurement, and analysis of microstructures. Leica Microsystems is one of the market leaders in each of its four divisions: Life Science, Industry, Biosystems, and Surgical. Business areas include Microscopy and Imaging Systems, Specimen Preparation, Medical Equipment, and Antibodies and Reagents. The company offers instruments and system solutions for the entire histopathology process including the Novocastra™ range of antibodies and reagents, consumable products, and clinical microscopes. The company is represented in over 100 countries with 9 manufacturing facilities in 7 countries, sales and service organizations in 20 countries and an international network of dealers.
OPTRONICS provides Microcast® HD real-time High Definition Co-Observation, which replaces multi-head microscopes. The OPTRONICS Microcast HD offers full 1080p HD digital co-observation from a microscope with 2MP progressive scan digital images at 60 FPS. The camera system uses 3CCD medical grade RGB imaging technology for precise real-time color reproduction of microscope images without interpolation. The camera’s ultra high speed automatic
camera shutter instantaneously compensates for higher magnification objectives and decreases in illumination. Optional full 1080p HD image capture of HD microscope images without a computer is available for reports and publications. Microcast HD eliminates the need for a multi-head microscope. For more information, please visit http://www.optronics.com.
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