Targeted Molecular Diagnostics (TMD), a Quintiles Central Laboratory, announced today the availability of digital pathology services in Beijing, China. The services add to Quintiles offerings used in the development of therapies to treat the world’s most pressing health issues, including cancer.
In digital pathology, glass slides containing tissue samples are scanned into a high-resolution electronic image format. During an oncology clinical trial, for example, Quintiles scans images of tissue samples so researchers can evaluate them to determine the potential effectiveness and safety of a treatment. Once a glass slide has been digitized, specialized server software provides secure access to images via the Internet – transforming any computer into a virtual microscope.
“Today, advances in technology provide oncologists more tools and capabilities than ever before in the fight against cancer,” said Christopher Ung, Vice President, Strategic Business and Operations for Quintiles. “We are leading central laboratories in offering a single source for the acquisition, management and retrieval of digital images, which will speed the development of targeted therapies.”
Rich with information at up to 100,000 DPI, digitized slides can be used to help determine whether a drug is working, if a genetic biomarker found in the tissue can be used in drug development, or simply to look for the presence of a tumor. Quintiles can provide researchers with a digital copy of the scanned slide, archive the image for future reference, and host the file on a secure server.
“Digital pathology can revolutionize the drug development and testing process,” said Shealynn Harris, M.D., Director, Quintiles Medical Laboratory. “Researchers can collect tissue samples in China, scan a high-resolution image of the slide, transfer the image to a database, and have physicians around the world view the image for diagnosis. With traditional microscope and slide technology, only one pathologist at a time would be able to look into the lens and see the slide. Now, a process that could take weeks – shipping slides around the globe for pathologists to review – can be done in minutes.”
Through Quintiles’ password-protected server, pathologists, oncologists, medical monitors, clinical site managers and others can view and discuss images individually or simultaneously from anywhere. The volumes of data are accessed with intelligent retrieval tools that enable users to efficiently search and organize information based on multiple criteria within the pathology database.
This service is especially valuable for research conducted in China, as it is impractical to export tissue. For companies with tissue samples collected on glass slides in China, Quintiles can digitize these to reduce storage costs and ensure integrity of the original image. Researchers using multiple pathology reads, for example, also can take advantage of Quintiles’ digital service offering to more easily share information.
Later this year, Quintiles will offer digital pathology services through the company’s central lab in Edinburgh, Scotland. Together, these labs will complement Quintiles’ existing digital slide scanning service, currently available through TMD’s lab in Chicago.
“We are only on the edge of what this technology will mean to the process of developing life-saving therapies,” Ung said. “Quintiles will continue to increase the breadth of services we offer to help develop cancer therapies that ensure patient safety and improve quality of life.”