It's no secret just how incredible algorithms are in our mobile phone. We rely on these daily to save us time, to the point we would never consider doing things the manual way.
These same time savings are becoming available to pathologists diagnosing cancers. This is speeding up the field of 'anatomical pathology' for cancer patients, the process of reviewing tumour tissue on glass slides under a microscope.
'Digital Pathology' now involves the analysis of tumour biopsies (the mounting and staining of tissue samples on glass slides) with the asistance of scanning slides as a digital image and performing an analysis with software scoring algorithms.
We take a deeper look at some incredibly powerful algorithms in digital pathology, that are saving the precious time of Australia's highly experienced, expert pathologists.
When we look at the statistics of Australias most diagnosed cancer, we can see the huge potential IVD image analysis algorithms have in saving pathologists' time.
Every year, some 20,000+ people are diagnosed with breast cancer alone (Reference 1). Typically, experienced pathologists can easily diagnose most of these cases, using the traditional 'manual scoring' method (tissue samples under the microscope).
A far more efficient means of reviewing pathological tissue slides is using digital pathology, assistance from image analysis software.
To demonstrate this point at a technical level, Roche Diagnostics Australia partnered with two of Australia’s leading breast pathologists, A/Prof Nirmala Pathmanathan of the Western Sydney Breast Cancer Institute and Dr Cameron Snell of Mater Pathology. The two agreed to participate in this award winning study, a webinar side-by-side comparison of breast cancer diagnostic techniques (HER2 Dual ISH scoring): manual vs algorithm assisted.
The above video is a shortened version of a one hour webinar which was first held in November 2021. You can access the full recording online here - The Gold Standard Paradox: Manual vs Algorithm Assisted Scoring in Breast Cancer Diagnostics
One of the more exciting products in Roche Diagnostics Australia's software portfolio is the uPath enterprise software digital image analysis algorithm.
As well as a increased turn around time - the ability to quickly triage cases into ‘low risk’ and ‘high risk’, the software increased offers increased diagnotic confidence. The video demonstrates examples where patholgists can quickly double or triple check separate sections of the tumour, as a means of feeling more confident in the initial diagnosis.
Both pathologists have extensive experience in anatomical pathology. However, to demonstrate the significant advantage the software affords pathologists, we organised a completely unscripted webinar of a side-by-side comparison of analysing tissue slides for HER2 Dual ISH scoring: manual vs. algorithm assisted.
The video below is a short, edited version of the full length, in-depth digital pathology webinar which was first broadcast in 2021. Segments in the video below have been chosen to remain in context, yet demonstrate some of the main reactions of both pathologists, excluding the higher technical details. In the full webinar, both pathologists agreed that this short version was an accurate representation of the webinar.
Reference 1 - https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancer-types/breast-cancer/statistics
UPATH is a trademark of Roche.