Key Patent in the United States further consolidates Visiopharm as innovation leader in Quantitative Digital Pathology
Hoersholm, Denmark – April 23, 2012 — Visiopharm A/S, a global leader in Quantitative Digital Pathology, announced today that the United States patent and Trademark office will issue the patent “Feature-based registration of sectional images” (Application No. 12/514,918).
The patented technology, which is now protected in both Europe and in the United States, enables perfect alignment of whole slide images at any magnification, independently of tissue type and staining. This is a central capability for the next generation of quantitative bio-marker analysis, and for time- and cost efficient Whole Slide stereology
Next generation of quantitative bio-marker analysis: High-precision alignment of digital slides has direct application for automating the analysis of biomarkers. The rate limiting step for the application of Quantitative Digital pathology in research and diagnostics has been robust and reliable tumor identification and classification. With this technology, it is now possible to implement automated Virtual Double Staining. This is done by aligning two serial sections stained for different markers by immunohistochemistry; any nuclear, membrane, or cytoplasmic biomarker of interest may be stained for in each of the slides. Advanced analysis software is used for automated alignment of slides; the tumor cells are found in one slide, e.g., by means of a cytoplasmic marker, and the expression of the bio-marker of interest, such as Estrogen receptor or Ki67, is quantified in the other slide, within the cells identified with the cytoplasmic marker.
“With the Virtual double staining approach, we can use standardized and optimized staining protocols for both of the markers used without the difficulties that we experience with physical double staining due to, e.g., conflicting protocol requirements and overlapping chromogenes. This could be an important step towards deploying automated and standardized image analysis in clinical pathology. We are currently involved in a number of collaborative studies where this technology is applied and refined for different markers, different reagent vendors, different scanners, and different tumor types. We are basing the development of these methods on our standardized and optimized staining protocols, and expect to publish some of this work later in 2012”, stated Professor Mogens Vyberg, Director of NordiQC.
The technology is fully integrated as part of Visiopharm image analysis and stereology solutions.
“This patent is very important to Visiopharm. We strongly believe this will become central to improve quality and automation, while at the same time reducing the costs associated with tissue based diagnostics and research. The results we are obtaining with our collaborators are very encouraging in terms of developing fully automated diagnostic tests and validating the value of this approach.”, adds Michael Grunkin, CEO of Visiopharm.
Time- and cost efficient Stereology: For the vast majority of scientific applications, highly automated Whole Slide Stereology can now replace Classical labor-intensive, manual, and high-maintenance complex hardware configurations for microscope-based stereology systems. The ability to automatically align Whole Slide Images of serial sections for an entire study is essential to automating the physical disector, and the sampling of perfectly aligned disector pairs. The technology is implemented in the Autodisector™, which is making Whole Slide Stereology a time- and cost-efficient option also in high-throughput environments.
According to Johnnie B. Andersen, Honorary Associate Professor at the Stereological Research Lab, and Stereology expert at Visiopharm, “Apart from automation, Whole Slide Stereology has demonstrated numerous significant advantages to researchers. Based on thin sections, the classical problems with lack of staining penetration in thick tissue sections are completely eliminated. Working with thin sections also eliminates practical problems that frequently originate from shrinkage and collapse of thick sections. Eliminating these critical issues will save researchers countless hours of futile lab work, when preparing tissue sections for important scientific studies. Loss of critical study data for those reasons can be very expensive. Finally, the combination of slide scanning and Whole Slide Stereology makes stereological data fully traceable, which is mission-critical in highly regulated environments”.
Over the past 10 years, Visiopharm image analysis and stereology software has become the preferred Quantitative Digital Pathology solution for leading biopharmaceutical companies, clinical researchers, and academic researchers all over the world. Visiopharm has more than 300 deployed systems worldwide and a large network of distribution and support partners, and is featured in over 400 scientific publications.