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Digital Pathology – Is the future “sliding” here?

In a recent study conducted by Provista Diagnostics. which was published online, findings were somewhat surprising. When serum protein biomarker and tumor-associated autoantibody data were used independently, clinical sensitivity and specificity for detection of breast cancer were around 72-75%. But, used together their accuracy increased to 80%. It was not an isolated incident since they had a control group of 210 people, out of whom majority (92%) are diagnosed with benign breast disease or malign breast cancer. It demonstrates that a combined proteomic biomarker assay is an important avenue not only for developing new approaches for detecting breast cancer but also reduce the rate of benign biopsies. This reality would’ve become as a forgotten idea but for the recent developments in Digital Pathology Techniques.

What is Digital Pathology and Why is it important?

Digital PathologyDigital Pathology, in short, is an image-based information environment enabled by computer technology that allows for the viewing, scanning, analyzing and management of information generated from a digital slide. It is considered as one of the most promising fields in diagnostic medicine for achieving better, faster and cheaper diagnosis, much of which can be attributed to the development of Whole-Slide Imaging.

Many predicted the arrival of the era of “Digital Pathology” since a decade back. Despite the slight glimmers the prophecy seemed to be false like many assumptions made by Back to Future regarding 2015. But then, with the arrival of internet and social media, the ways of doing every daily routine changed. What may have taken days in the years of the past is taking mere seconds today and what may have been a great distance is only a few clicks away. Obtaining reports of pathological investigations became that much simpler with the increased use of blogs, wikis, videos and other social networking technologies.

Especially, it helps a lot in Academic and Research purposes providing seekers with near unlimited repository of crowd-sourced knowledge. However, like with any open sourced repositories, it too has some adverse consequences, of which privacy security and authenticity are the major concerns. Many people are intrigued by the fact that they can share gross images examinations, autopsy and dermatology condition photographs which may of some inconvenience to relevant personnel. Authenticity is the prime result of lack of “vetted” or “peer-reviewed” information.

They may be the reason for ever so slight doubt among Doctors and Healthcare professionals. Notwithstanding that, in August 2016 edition of AMA Journal of Ethics, Drs. Crane and Gardner published an article stating the common do’s and don’ts regarding sharing pathological information across social media. For they thought that all the facilities add to the professional and social benefits which are overwhelmingly greater than the negligible effects that rely on the end-user rather than the user itself. Also the article explicitly quoted that “there is a rising interest in the use of social media by pathologists” which adds to the interest of service providers in this market, who are also growing by dime a dozen.

The Advent of New Players and Technologies

IBM nanotechnoogyAs, discussed earlier, as in the case of immunotherapy, which has the cancer community fixated on the treatment regimen, liquid biopsies are front-runners on the diagnostics end. And to raise the stakes even more, IBM is bringing its research might to the field of liquid biopsy with its prime focus of “building a lab-on-a-chip technology that can separate particles at the nanoscale”.

IBM Researchers have confirmed that they created a structure in silicon that contains nanoposts, which can sift up to 20 nanometers (one-billionth of a meter). It helps in examine the DNA, RNA and possibly viruses with more precision that aiding physicians real-time in detecting the symptoms of disease track a therapy’s effectiveness and accelerate drug development, all with much speed and accuracy.

For a global organization like IBM, this presents a high profile entry into the healthcare scene with more companies following their path like sequencing giant illumina. After their first step into this multi-billion market they are now trying to go one more on their previous inventions by developing an efficient modular platform with the additional option of multi-functionality. Established Companies like Roche are pursuing the same route with developing their product portfolio and offering multi-platform services, old records databases, cloud connectivity which made tele-consultations easy and reliable. As their motto suggests healthcare innovations are all about “doing now what patients need next”.

Analysts at Market Data Forecast have prepared a detailed report listing the drivers and restraints of the digital pathology market and discussing in detail the dynamics of the overall market addressed in form of comprehensive strategic analyses, company profiles and many more. You can get a free sample here. To make your decisions well researched and more informed visit our site and subscribe to our newsletters for more revealing insights of digital pathology market and healthcare in general.

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