Quantitative and Automated Analysis in Molecular Pathology
Recent advances in chemistry has resulted in a surge in the application of RNA ISH and DNA FISH assays in pathology. These molecular assays do offer numerous advantages over traditional IHC staining. However, due to multiplex assays and the sophistication of the scoring system used, molecular assays can be difficult to assess using a traditional microscope. Digital Pathology offers numerous advantages over traditional microscope based reviews, including the generation of a permanent record of the slide, the ability to share slides with colleagues in remote locations and the option of using software to assist in the assessment of the staining. Automated image analysis can be used to quantify and enumerate RNA and DNA Brightfield and fluorescently captured slides. Within this presentation, we will discuss the advantages and applications using image analysis as an adjunct to manual interpretation of molecular assays.
- Review of Molecular Assay Approaches.
- Overview of the advantages of Digital Pathology and Image analysis when reviewing molecular assays.
- Discuss the capabilities in the area of digital pathology and quantitative image analysis.
CATHERINE CONWAY, PH.D.: So my agenda today, really I want to start off with the definition of what is molecular pathology, what are people doing today within pathology, and how does digital pathology fit into this. I really want to introduce the benefits of the pathology and specifically talk about the image analysis applications and give you a good overview of why people are using image analysis and what the benefits are, how it can be fully automated, and give you some used case examples of what people are doing today within their research using image analysis.
So, to start off, I think you know we all know that pathology plays a very critical role in the decision making when it comes to counter diagnostics. And we believe that around 70% of all of the current diagnostic decisions are based on pathology information. But pathology has evolved very much of late, so there is a lot more focus not just on the traditional diagnostics, but also looking at prognostics and therapeutics, and this has all fallen into the arena of the pathologist. And this involves much more involvement of proteomic and genomic testing’s at the present.
In addition to the technology evolving and the science evolving, also the standards and the criteria for pathologists is constantly being raised and evaluated, so there is much more of an emphasis on trying to automate some of the more mundane tasks, and also trying to increase inter- and intra-observer variability. And also more focus has been placed on recording the information so it’s better documentation, better record keeping, and pathology reviews.
So, really moving into what molecular pathology is, and really that is the study of molecules, mainly DNA, RNA, or protein in a disease state. And today it’s mostly used for the diagnostics of the disease, but of course it’s also used to guide the prevention and the treatment of that disease. Some very common applications of the molecular assays today, there is a lot of passed around inherent genetic disease to hopefully prevent, enable to prevent, these measures. These tests can be anything from, for example, an APC for colorectal cancer tests or consultations. There is also more detailed molecular tests to help monitor the response after the disease and from the treatment, and whether the disease has returned.
An application there may be within the genius of the BCR ADL tests, and finally predictive tests to see how somebody is actually going to respond to a drug. So this is moving into the personalized medicines, and we've heard a lot of information around personalized medicine in recent years. We have a drug and a specific test for that drug.
And a very, very famous example is, of course,