Image is 142,603 by 105,000 pixels in size (or 41.8GB) and was scanned at a 1μm pixel resolution

Is it the largest pathology image ever produced? In an article, the journal BioOptics World reports that a breast tissue image may in fact be the largest digital pathology image ever produced. The image was produced by the TISSUEscope 4000 from Biomedical Photometrics Inc. (BPI) of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The image is available online at http://www.confocal.com/ABOUT/Human_Breast-H&E.html. The announcement of the “largest pathology image ever produced” is a clever way for BPI to call attention to it scanning system. The company describes its product as a high-throughput panoramic scanning system for tissue slides and microarrays that images an area more than 100 times that of an ordinary microscope in a single scan.

Largest slide scan digital image
Researchers at Sunnybrook Hospital’s  pathology laboratory, which is part of the University Health Network in Toronto, routinely scan five-inch-by-seven-inch breast tissue slides using the TISSUEscope 4000, according to officials at BPI. The instrument is designed to allow pathologists to acquire large format images at higher pixel resolutions and with significantly fewer misalignment artifacts than those that are common in traditional microscope tiling systems. Per company information, the user stains 50 μm thick vibratome sections with H&E. These sections are mounted whole on 5-inch-by-7inch glass slides. The TISSUEscope 4000 is then used to acquire the image.

The image of breast cancer tissue that can be viewed on line is 142,603 by 105,000 pixels in size (or 41.8 GB). It was scanned at a 1μm pixel resolution. The image was produced by Gina Clarke, Ph.D., a researcher at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

BioOptics World considers this technology to be notable because it enables a viewing area more than 100 times that of a conventional microscope with the same resolution. The technology BPI uses in this system is similar to that used by Google Earth. It allows users to zoom in and out of the breast tissue image.

Marketing hype aside about “the largest pathology image,” the fact that Biomedical Photometrics Inc. is capable of scanning a tissue section measuring five inches by seven inches with useful resolution shows the steady progress being made in the scanning and digitization of pathology images. It is an example of a developing new technology that will help pathologists advance the ability of the profession to more accurately evaluate tissue specimens.

Related information

Largest pathology image?

TISSUEscope 4000 scans 5″x7″ Breast Tissue Slide

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