SAN JOSE, Calif. – Royal Philips Electronics and NEC Corp. will integrate their separate digital image scanning and analysis systems used to automate the process of detecting certain cancers. The move marks another small step toward digital processing in medicine, and a natural one for the two companies that tested their separate systems at the same hospital.
Under the deal, the two companies will develop and sell a combined system initially targeted at grading tissue samples for breast and prostate cancer. Results from the collaboration are expected by the end of the year.
Philips’ high-throughput pathology slide scanner uses a continuous auto-focus technology that tracks height variations in the tissue surface over horizontal distances as short as 30 microns to capture a high definition full-slide image in less than one minute. It is commercially available in Europe for research purposes.
NEC’s e-Pathologist Cancer Diagnosis Assistance System uses computer algorithms to automatically detect regions of interest in tissues and cells and make quantitative measurements of prepared tissue samples. NEC tested the system with SRL, Inc., a large lab test center in Japan, for biopsy of stomach cancer. The e-Pathologist system is already available in Japan for use in detecting stomach and breast cancer.
Such digital systems are expected both to speed the detection and increase the accuracy of identifying cancer sub-types.
“We are pleased to have been involved in the development of the Philips high throughput scanner and the NEC e-Pathologist system and look forward to the next phase of their development," said David Louis, Chief of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital that tested both companies' systems.