We all know pathology, thinking of the healthcare
professional examining a tissue section under a microscope,
looking for evidence of cancerous cells. Many years ago, the
pathology process was digitalised by capturing the glass
slides with a scanning device to provide a high-resolution
digital image that can be viewed on a computer screen or
mobile device, facilitating the acquisition, management,
sharing and interpretation of pathology information. More
recently, these digital images were becoming increasingly
more accurate to render 3D shapes of objects. Organs
structures and contents were already revealed in 3D
distribution, but this was not yet the case for tissues,
which require microscopic spatial resolution to develop
3D analysis. The main bottleneck to achieving efficient 3D
imaging of tissues was to provide a quantitative and global
analysis at microscopic resolution. The project 3DPathology,
headed by Barco and Philips along with knowledge
partners and university hospitals from six countries, was
set out to create a 3D digital pathology solution, based on
a combination of multiple existing pathology modalities, for
same-day diagnosis and much more personalised treatment
To achieve this, 5 major technical challenges had to be
The resulting 3D multi-modal pathology demonstrator
provides complete chemical information and access to
unexplored dimensions of histology. The 3D visualisation
of, and interaction with, the relevant data from multiple
imaging modalities optimises the presentationof the
relevant views and parameters and allows the huge
amounts of data to be handled.
First of all, the 3DPathology project has had a significant
impact on JPEG XS standardisation, which focuses on near
loss-free, low-latency coding of high-resolution data. Intensive
collaboration between imec, ETRO and VUB resulted in the
launch of a new extension of JPEG 2000.
Furthermore, Philips expects the results to help bring new
pathology scanners to market and an innovative multi-layer
bright field imaging solution to increase its market share
of the bright field pathology. Increased usability range and
robustness will address the needs for both small labs and
large medical centres.
As a result of the project, Prodrive Technologies finalised
the scan engine design and the production tools, which are
now available. This emerging technology project will result in
better patient care and significantly higher revenue.
Slimmer AI, formerly Target Holding, applied the experience
in image handling and analysis from 3D molecular image
alignment in different customer cases and proofs of concept
(PoC). Currently, the AI-based image analysis line is combined
with Slimmer AI's Natural Language Processing developments
to form the PoC-version of an innovative data-room tool, in
co-creation with a launching customer.
Barco has developed optimised display systems that address
a variety of pathology lab needs for review, positioning of
samples but also for diagnostic purposes. In addition, Barco
prepared a White Paper for the Medical Imaging Working
Group of ICC which is a first step towards the standardisation
of medical colour imaging.
In addition, PS-Tech has developed masking technology for
extractions within volumetric datasets. This technology, which
has now been commercialised in Vesalius3D, is used for
preoperative planning in various cardiovascular procedures.
For the Korean partner Xavis, the project will result in
bringing to market new 3D X-ray Microscopy Instrumentation
capable of high-resolution, non-destructive imaging
and analysis for the quantification of internal structural
parameters at submicron to nanometre scale.
And last but not least, increasing the accuracy in pathological
examination practice and interpretation has a significant
impact on improving quality of life due to personalised
treatment, limiting re-occurrence as a result of better
treatment outcomes and a reduction in the cost of healthcare
from fewer readmissions.