Danish Pathologists Embrace New Standards in Cancer Diagnostics on a National Scale

There is a pressing need to improve and standardize the diagnostic work on cancer in order to optimize patient care.  In Denmark, the healthcare system and pathology departments, face major challenges.  These include too few experienced pathologists, a growing volume of diagnostic tests, demands to reduce turnaround times, and overall costs of pathology.

Pathology Glass SlidesOver the last twelve years, Visiopharm has worked closely with leading Danish and International cancer researchers and pathologists to develop diagnostic software capable of improving and standardizing diagnostic reading, while automating key steps in the diagnostic workflow. This software is now being deployed at central pathology labs across Denmark.

Last year Visiopharm released its first CE-marked, in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) software module. Several other CE-marked software modules are close to being released, providing a complete set of software modules for diagnosis and classification of breast cancer.  Software for other tumor panels is also in Visiopharm’s development pipeline.

These software modules have been developed and validated on all major staining and scanning platforms in close collaboration with, among others, Aalborg University Hospital and Professor Mogens Vyberg who is also the founder and director of the international quality organization for immunohistochemistry, NordiQC, covering about 400 pathology labs worldwide.

“We have already demonstrated that adherence to optimized and standardized tissue staining procedures combined with quality assessment are important for increasing diagnostic precision. The next important step is standardization of diagnostic reading and interpretation through image analysis. Based on our results so far, we believe that the new approaches we have developed with Visiopharm are important steps towards standardizing, and potentially further improving breast cancer diagnostics. We are moving into a very exciting phase of the practical validation in the clinic”, says Prof. Mogens Vyberg.

At Herlev University Hospital action is being put behind the visions of a better, faster, and less expensive standard of care in cancer.  The implementation project was initiated around Christmas 2012, and is moving ahead according to schedule.

“We are fundamentally redesigning and improving diagnostic workflows at Herlev Hospital. With modern scanners, we are now digitizing slides for documentation, easy access, and for modern computer based diagnostic reading.  Results will be automatically fed into our Pathology data system, supporting standardized reading and interpretation by our experienced staff of pathologists.  For us it is important to standardize the results of Immunohistochemistry and to deliver results faster and at a lower cost,” says consultant pathologist Eva Balslev from the department of Pathology at Herlev hospital.  With the possibility of quality assurance it is possible to work together and learn from each other across countries,” says Dr. Eva Balslev, Consultant Pathologist MD at Herlev Hospital.

Other central Danish Hospitals are joining this new digital initiative, including Pathology departments in Aarhus, Copenhagen, and Odense.  Prof. Torben Steinice from Aarhus University Hospital adds, “We have worked with image analysis for many years in cancer research, and have been part of validating the technology. We believe that Quantitative Digital Pathology has finally reached a level of maturity that allows pathologists, patients, and the society as a whole to benefit.  It is valuable that Danish pathology departments all over the country embark on this journey at the same time.  This will allow us to exchange experiences, learn from each other in the process, and overcome the challenges that inevitably appear when introducing new technologies and procedures at large hospitals.”

About Visiopharm

Over the past 12 years, Visiopharm image analysis and stereology software has become the preferred Quantitative Digital Pathology solution for leading hospitals, biopharmaceutical companies, clinical researchers, and academic researchers all over the world.  Visiopharm has more than 350 deployed systems worldwide and a large network of distribution and support partners, and is featured in over 450 scientific publications.