Last month I was fortunate to see a demo of Leica's SCN400 scanner and their image management system provided by SlidePath's Digital Imaging Hub.
In short, the images were of very high quality with reasonable scan times at 40x with reproducible high throughput and fast image review. A number of images were uploaded to one of the data centers and reviewed remotely with ease with a number of web browsers without difficulty.
Despite being one of the last traditional microscope vendors to enter the digital pathology space, their solution complete with image management and image analysis provided by SlidePath makes Leica the single best out-of-the-box (OK it was a lot of boxes) solution I have seen in over 10 years.
And a reasonable price point to match.
Having never seen their scanner and reading the reviews I thought the images would be high quality but we would have the usual and customary issues when these systems are first implemented. None. The system scanned the slides without incident and identifying them was simple through large thumbnails and conspicuous reference identifiers.
Although it did take longer than one would like to upload the images to a remote data center, the ability to see those images present quickly and refresh quickly with no pixelation or delay made up for the upload time.
I was particularly impressed with the ability to rotate the images and link multiple slides to one another to view comparable fields or multiple slides from the same case (i.e. aspirate slide and bone marrow section).
As should be the case with any demonstration, your slides should be used. Determine if there are going to be issues with slides themselves, coverslips, stain quality, etc… For this demo we intentionally picked average to below average quality slides from a stain perspective, complete with off-center coverslips and large ink dots on one particular slide.
Despite our best attempt, the images were some of the best I have seen in that they were true to form but were not compromised in any way by the poor coverslipping or ink dots on the slide. For once, the tissue was sharply in focus and needed minimal adjustment, which is possible and the ink dots were present but not a deterrent.
Add to that SlidePath's image analysis tools on those images from a web-based platform and you are up and running.
We also looked at a few cytology slides, mostly gynecologic cytology and a single fine needle aspiration slide of moderate cellularity and the scanner again passed the test. As is the case with cytology specimens, three dimensional groups can be an issue, as they are with light microscopy, but the images provided comparable clarity. I have actually found cytology images to be "crisper" with whole slide imaging than with conventional light microscopes and this was true of Leica's scanner as well.
The combination of Leica's long history with high-end optics and SlidePath's proven track record with their Digital Image Hub makes for a perfect digital pathology solution for clinical or research use.
If you are considering a digital pathology "system" you would be wise to consider this solution in your evaluation.