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Cloud Storage for Digital Slides Helps Connect Researchers and Clinicians

Cloud Storage for Digital Slides Helps Connect Researchers and Clinicians

A senior biomedical engineering student has launched cloud storage software for digital pathology slides, thanks in part to a $10,000 grant from Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures’ Ralph O’Connor Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Fund.

Proscia, founded by David West Jr., is offering Pathology Cloud as a way for hospitals, research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and others to store, manage, analyze and collaborate on digital pathology slides.

Currently, pathologists make most tissue-based diagnoses by analyzing glass slides under microscopes. For second opinions, they often ship slides to other pathologists or labs, but that involves time and potential damage. 

Pathology slides digitized with the help of a scanning system can be shared more quickly and easily, but institutions and businesses can face storage challenges when working with thousands of digital pathology slides. Certain slides alone can take roughly 1 gigabyte of storage space.

West started Proscia after seeing the potential and challenges of digital pathology slides in urologist Robert Veltri’s lab, where a friend of West’s was working. Today, Veltri is an adviser to Proscia.

Digital pathology is an emerging field. While the FDA has yet to approve it for initial patient diagnoses in the U.S., it’s used for research and teaching at Johns Hopkins. A program focused on using it for secondary consultations for international patients is also in development.

Pathology Cloud allows clients to store millions of digital slides online and work with others through secure image sharing. West is also working on machine-learning software to analyze these images and develop algorithms that could help improve cancer detection.

“We’ve seen a lot of cool technology solve problems of subjectivity in many other fields and medicine, but it hasn’t really touched pathology until now,” says West.

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