After a decade of dedicated research, a breakthrough in medical diagnosis is set to offer patients quicker and more precise pathology results.
The University of Queensland, in collaboration with Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP), has developed an automated microscope scanning and analysis system. This advanced technology, already tested, implemented, and accredited in Brisbane, is now prepared for global implementation.
According to UQ’s AI Professor Brian Lovell, this system markedly enhances test performance concerning cost, speed, and quality. It is capable of processing thousands of daily tests and has received accreditation from the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).
This cutting-edge system can amplify the productivity of pathologists and scientists by up to ten times or more on occasion. Furthermore, it offers the option for second opinions via telepathology and considerably advances the process of record keeping. It renders the long-term archiving of glass slides obsolete, improving access to historical records.
Dr. Michael Harrison, SNP’s Chief Executive Officer, confirmed that this technology is already benefiting their Brisbane labs by improving the speed and accuracy of diagnoses. Scientists can now utilize a digitized image, often with associated AI, avoiding the need for lengthy microscope use.
“This represents the most significant change in the performance of morphological tests for decades,” says Dr. Harrison.
Professor Lovell noted that past difficulties obtaining sharp, in-focus images without human intervention have now been overcome. Despite digital pathology images often being thousands of times larger than typical digital photos, this innovative system is capable of automated diagnostics for tissue, blood, and other specimens.
“The active scanner is capable of identifying what it’s scanning and where it should scan, using image analysis and artificial intelligence. This greatly enhances image quality while reducing file size,” he added.
Dr. Dean Moss, the CEO of UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest, highlighted the project’s transformative potential for health outcomes. The research, supported by SNP, two Australian Research Council projects, and an Advance Queensland Fellowship from the Queensland Government, recently won the Business and Industry Solution category at the Queensland iAwards and will progress to the national finals later this year.