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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Faster and more accurate pathology follows decade-long research, ready for commercial launch

Health Industry Hub | July 21, 2023 |

The University of Queensland (UQ) and Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP) have jointly announced a ground-breaking advancement in medical diagnostics with the introduction of an automated microscope scanning and analysis system. After a decade-long research endeavour, the innovative technology promises to revolutionise medical diagnosis, offering faster and more accurate pathology results for patients worldwide.

Led by esteemed UQ Professor of AI, Brian Lovell, the digital pathology system has undergone rigorous testing, implementation, and accreditation, earning the stamp of approval from the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). This state-of-the-art technology showcases remarkable capabilities, processing thousands of tests daily, and holding the potential to significantly improve the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness of medical tests.

“With the digital pathology technology we’ve developed, the possibilities are truly transformative,” said Professor Lovell. “Our system has the potential to boost productivity for pathologists and scientists by multiples, ensuring faster and more reliable diagnoses.”

One of the system’s features is its seamless integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and telepathology, elevating the level of precision and collaboration in medical diagnoses. Pathologists now have the ability to seek expert second opinions remotely, fostering a global network of medical expertise for critical cases.

Dr Michael Harrison, SNP’s Chief Executive Officer, expressed excitement over the technology’s potential impact on healthcare.

“Our laboratories in Brisbane are already witnessing the transformative effects of the digital pathology system,” said Dr Harrison. “By embracing digitised images alongside AI assistance, our scientists are liberated from the constraints of traditional microscopy, leading to unparalleled performance gains in morphological tests.”

A pivotal breakthrough came in the form of an “active scanner,” developed by Professor Lovell’s team to tackle the challenge of obtaining high-quality images without manual intervention. Traditional digital photos pale in comparison to the vast size of digital pathology images derived from tissues and blood samples, rendering automation seemingly unattainable. The innovative active scanner, equipped with sophisticated image analysis and AI capabilities, efficiently identifies scanning targets, enhancing image quality while minimising file sizes for optimised data management.

The success of this digital pathology system underscores the power of collaboration between academic research institutions and industry players. Supported by SNP, two Australian Research Council projects, and an Advance Queensland Fellowship from the Queensland Government, the project stands as a testament to the synergy of diverse expertise.

Dr Dean Moss, CEO of UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest, highlighted the project’s potential to impact global health outcomes.

“This remarkable collaboration exemplifies how pioneering research, combined with industry collaboration, can lead to transformative advancements,” said Drs Moss. “The digital pathology system is a shining example of how cutting-edge technology can shape the future of medical diagnostics.”

With the system now ready for rollout, medical institutions worldwide can anticipate a new era of enhanced medical diagnostics. Faster, more precise results, coupled with the capacity for remote expert consultations, hold promise for more effective patient care.

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