Project: A high speed automated scanner for the whole slide imaging of pathology samples.

Background & Market needs_x000D_The demand for pathology tests where tissue sections are examined under a microscope for cancer and other diseases is rising globally. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the developed world [Appendix 5-Ref.1] and global cancer rates are projected to triple by 2030 primarily due to population growth and aging. Against this background the numbers of students taking up pathology as a profession is in decline. _x000D__x000D_Currently the vast majority of pathological clinical diagnoses are carried out by skilled pathologists using conventional optical microscopes (see Appendix 1). A new solution is being offered – known as ‘digital pathology’ - where pathology slides are automatically scanned to produce a digital image at high resolution. This data can then be processed and displayed via digital networks, reducing the pathologist’s workload and streamlining the pathology workflow. _x000D__x000D_FFEI, the lead participant in this project, is at the forefront of the development of digital slide scanner technology and has recognized that there is a significant market opportunity in digital pathology, particularly for clinical diagnostics._x000D__x000D_The ideal scanner has the capability to image a whole slide (industry standard 75mm x 25mm) at high resolution (typically 40x with 250nm resolution). However current scanners (e.g. the FFEI scanner) take about 22 minutes to produce a whole slide image, and generate huge amounts of data that require storage and take time to electronically distribute. Our understanding of the market need leads to the conclusion that resolving both scanning speed and data storage issues – whilst COtaining or improving data quality – would lead to widespread adoption of digital pathology scanners. _x000D__x000D_Goals_x000D_The project proposes to develop a new whole slide imaging scanner aimed at high-throughput clinical applications. The goal is to scan a whole slide in less than 60 seconds - over 20x faster than current systems - whilst offering new functionalities in terms of added spectral information. New high performance data compression strategies will be implemented to handle the high data volume generated. This scanner will be compatible with the throughput of automated slide preparation equipment, making it possible for the first time to implement a fully integrated and automated workflow directly from slide preparation to digitisation (Appendix 1.1). _x000D__x000D_The proposed technology will shift the paradigm in digital pathology from a data pull to a data push, providing pathologists with a powerful tool that can be relied on for clinical diagnosis, whilst offering operating efficiencies and cost benefits to healthcare providers. The project will further allow the SME companies in the project to each achieve competitive benefits in markets where there is aggressive competition from the USA and Japan._x000D__x000D_Technical Aspects_x000D_The base technologies to achieve such an advanced system are emerging from within the Ps’ own research capabilities - but will require collaboration and significant innovation to bring them together into a working solution that can be in the market by 2014. They key areas requiring R&D effort are:_x000D_• CMOS sensor and readout technology (much faster)_x000D_• Illumination system (much brighter)_x000D_• Dynamic focus and focus tracking methodologies (significant re-development of existing FFEI-patented technologies), _x000D_• Translation stage (faster, while still accurate), _x000D_• Datapath speed and Data Storage efficiency (New compression paradigm)._x000D__x000D_Project Consortium_x000D_FFEI (UK), the lead participant, is a very successful R&D performing SME developer and manufacturer in a number of markets, who already manufacture an automated microscope slide scanner for pathology applications which is marketed globally by a large international player in the market sector. FFEI has the competencies to design the integrated product, manufacture it to ISO13485 and take to market, through existing channels or others. _x000D_AWAIBA (PT) is an R&D performing SME that has key competencies in CMOS sensor technology, which is one of the key technologies that will enable success in this project._x000D_APHESA (BE) works closely with AWAIBA and has the competencies to provide the necessary electronics to take analogue data and deliver it to the datapath._x000D_PRIOR (UK) is an established manufacturer of microscopy motion systems and has the capability to deliver the necessary manufacturable design of advanced high speed motion system which will be beyond that which is currently available._x000D_It is intended that the project Ps form a non-competitive supply chain for the new scanner product and the respective modules developed by the Ps, with the aim of manufacturing in Europe and supplying to a global market._x000D_

Acronym LEGATO (Reference Number: 6319)
Duration 01/09/2011 - 28/02/2013
Project Topic A project to design and develop a new pathology slide scanner that will promote the global adoption of the technology for clinical diagnostics, including the early detection of cancer. The project will reduce scan times by up to 20 times and extend the spectral range, without reducing image quality.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
A demonstration scanner has been researched and developed in a preliminary version._x000D_The project was split in two phases: the first phased was a research and feasibility phase which has been successfully completed and resulted in the preliminary demonstration scanner. The second phase prototype needed to reach the highest possible performance; the research for this phase is successful but the prototype has not been built.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 6

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 FFEI Limited Coordinator United Kingdom
4 Prior Scientific Limited Partner United Kingdom
4 AWAIBA Consultadoria Desenvolvimento E comercio de Componentes Microelectronicos Lda Partner Portugal
4 APHESA SPRL Partner Belgium