PathMiner at a Glance

Large-scale, multi-site collaboration is becoming indispensable for a wide range of research and clinical activities including tissue banking, proteomics, and outcome studies. Future progress in several key areas will rely on the capacity of individuals to dynamically acquire, share and assess images and correlated data. The main objective of the PathMiner project is to design, develop, evaluate, and maintain a web-based model for interactive telemedicine, intelligent archiving, and automated decision support in pathology.

The PathMiner project consists of three subsystems: the Distributed Telemicroscopy (DT) subsystem, the Intelligent Archiving (IA) subsystem, and the IGDS subsystem. Software, written in JAVA, allows primary users to control the specimen stage, objective lens, light levels and focus of a robotic microscope, remotely, while a digital representation of the specimen is continuously broadcast to all session participants. Primary user status can be passed as a token. The system features shared graphical pointers, text messaging capability, and automated database management. Search engines for the database allow one to automatically identify and retrieve images, diagnoses, and correlated clinical data of cases from a "gold standard" database which exhibit spectral and spatial profiles which are most similar to a given query image. The system suggests the most likely diagnosis based on majority logic of the retrieved cases. The system was used to discriminate among three lymphoproliferative disorders and healthy cells. System performance was evaluated using rigorous statistical assessment and by comparison with human observers.

Hematopathology was chosen as the first test domain for these studies since each of the specimens used to create the "gold-standard" database already had independent confirmation of the differential diagnosis by means of immunophenotyping and/or molecular studies. In addition, by using hematopathology as the point of focus for the initial studies the development of the PathMiner project has been able to follow a logical experimental path from single cell to multi-cell and tissue analysis. Finally, by concentrating on a set of lymphoproliferative disorders which can often be confused with one another the project addresses a clinically significant problem in diagnostic pathology.

 

Acknowledgements

This research is funded, in part, by NIH contract 1 RO1 LM007455-01A1 from the National Library of Medicine.

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