A partnership between the Toshiba Imaging Systems Division of Toshiba America (Irvine, CA) and Apollo Telemedicine (Falls Church, VA) has resulted in an advanced, real-time diagnostic imaging system for scientists and pathologists. The system incorporates Toshiba’s 3-CCD IK-TU51 three-chip camera head and controller, and Apollo’s ASAP (Apollo Streaming Anatomic Pathology) Imaging® — a high-speed, full-motion, interactive video streaming optimized for remote diagnostics — to enable a pathologist to look at a live, high-resolution image from under a microscope over a network using Internet video streaming.

Apollo Telemedicine’s digital pathology system incorporates Toshiba’s three-chip camera head and controller.

The pathologist is able to stream high-resolution digital images of the slide viewed through the microscope eyepiece, and can share the image via the Internet, intranet, or other network. The system allows the pathologist to view slide movement under the objective, providing the same view as if looking through the oculars.

“We’ve put together a complete solution that incorporates the Toshiba 3CCD cam- era into our solution because it does the best job, in our opinion, of full-motion imaging with great lighting controls and other controls,” said Mark Newburger, CEO of Apollo Telemedicine. “It’s a digital camera that’s producing a full video stream. We take that stream in the form of S-video into our ASAP Imaging, which digitizes it and transmits it in real time over the Internet or an intranet. The solution includes the camera, the microscope, the management software for the desktop, and a pathology communication solution.”

A feature that was important to Apollo was the camera’s prism technology. According to Gary Pitre, Eastern regional sales manager for Toshiba’s Imaging Systems Division, “The key to the success of three-chip cameras, as opposed to single-chip cameras, is the prism technology behind it. When you have three sensors, this prism has to be aligned so incredibly accurately to get a good quality image. That’s one of the reasons Apollo chose our equipment,” added Pitre.

A Real-Time Solution

The diagnostic system offered by Apollo using the Toshiba three-chip camera enables doctors to make quicker diagnoses, receive immediate second opinions, and consult or confer from anywhere in the world, from microscope to desktop computer, all in real time, explained Newburger.

“For example, if you’re doing frozen section diagnostics and there is no pathologist on site, you may have the need for surgery to be done for which a pathologist will need to look at a specimen while the patient is on the table. There is no time to overnight that specimen to where the pathologist is. So you either have to bring a pathologist on site, or somehow transmit the image to an off-site location,” said Newburger. “ASAP Imaging can transmit that image in a stream to where the pathologist is, and with our robotics capability, can even control the microscope as if they were sitting in front of it.”

According to Newburger, the full solution set can handle the entire gamut of all imaging requirements within pathology to redistribute that medical expertise where and when it’s needed. “The system can be used for archiving of data to incorporate the images into electronic medical records, and for reporting functions to associate the actual images from which the diagnostics were made to the diagnosis in the report,” he added.

“Quality assurance and quality control can make sure that diagnostics quality is prevalent throughout the entire pathology world so the quality of your diagnosis is much less oriented to who made the diagnosis, but much more oriented on standards,” said Newburger. “One can have cases reviewed. Even in regular pathology with a microscope, there is a certain amount of error in diagnostics; subspecialization within specific cases can be done because now a pathologist can see enough cases over a broader geographic range.”

Counter-terrorism is another potential application for real-time diagnostics and analysis. If there is a potentially deadly specimen in a possibly contaminated area, bringing an expert in to make the diagnosis may not be feasible because of exposure issues. The system provides immediate access to, for example, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for diagnosis.

“During the Anthrax scare right after 9/11 in October 2001, there was a case of what was potentially subcutaneous anthrax in the Milwaukee area,” said Newburger. “A patient was brought in to the Milwaukee lab, and they took some images of the sample with our systems and sent those images via e-mail to the CDC. They determined it was not subcutaneous anthrax. They didn’t have to ship a specimen down, or send the patient to Atlanta, or bring a doctor up to Milwaukee.”

More Information

For more information on Toshiba Imaging Systems Division, visit http://info.hotims.com/10962-145. To learn more about Apollo Telemedicine, visit http://info.hotims.com/10962-146.

Imaging Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2007 issue of Imaging Technology Magazine.

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