Thursday - October 09, 2003
I haven't written about virtual microscopy in awhile, it's not for lack of effort, I have been busy working on several exciting projects throughout this year with my team at Bacus Labs.
Going back about 10 years in history, during the normal operation of the CAS 100 and CAS 200 imaging systems a technician manually manipulated the microscope and captured individual grayscale images and made quantitative measurements over a small subjective area of the slide. Years later automated microscopes start performing the same tasks offering the improvement of measuring a larger sample area, but it ties up an expensive system with one slide at a time under the lens as the results are obtained. Now we are entering the era where a microscope slide scanner rapidly digitizes the entire slide and places it on a server for archival, viewing and subsequent image analysis. Network distributed image analysis, it works, and it's here now.
We just released a product utilizing this technique, software for tissue microarray (TMA) research, named TMAscore. It's main user interface is that of a virtual microscopy viewer, with an image analysis and multivariate classifier engine built in behind it. The software is novel in itself for tissue microarray research, but the cool thing is that obviously these virtual slides are available over the network. So now I can work with my laptop on a WiFi wireless network and do research and analysis that once tied me to the microscope workstation. I don't have to store the slides on my hard disk, they are safe and secure on the server. And of course there are all the obvious benefits of virtual slides, they don't fade or break, and are easy to find, or share with collaborators.