See it in action: Robotic microscope puts pathology into 3D perspective


[music playing] I love that idea that we’re building tools
to better look at ourselves. That we’re building a mirror
to gain insight into how we operate and function and
what constitutes us, what builds us. [music playing] One of the things that surprised me as I learned
about biology is just our limitations in knowing it. We’ve got these tools that are coming out
in the molecular and bioinformatics world, but in the imaging space,
we’re still pretty limited. In conventional pathology, the
whole process is very laborious. It’s very slow. It’s all done through a microscope that you
physically look through. Considering that biology is huge
and it happens in large volumes, looking at microscopic amounts of
2D sections of tissue is very limiting. [music playing] The core technology of 3Scan, is the KESM,
the knife-edge scanning microscope. The first incarnation of our
technology, our tool, was built by Bruce McCormick
to study neuroscience. [music playing] The KESM has a diamond knife, this embedded
organ is brought against the knife and a section is taken off on top. Pointed at this is a automated microscope
and we scan, line by line, the sample as it’s coming up the edge of the knife,
and that section is taken away. We then come and take another
section, and repeat the process. All those images are then uploaded in a cloud
computing environment, and the pathologist is able to go through all of these images
and find things in each of the layers that are connected, look at how
cells and tissues are related to the overall context of the organ. And so you get this 3D element as well as
this microscopic element that’s able to go back and forth between those two contexts
and that’s something that’s very new, and that’s what 3Scan seeks to bring
to the world of digital pathology. You’re not looking at one individual section and then imagining how the
rest of it fits together. You have the context of how different structures
inside of some piece of an organ interplay into the greater 3D context,
and that’s very powerful. [music playing] We like to imagine that the pathologist one
day can be the conductor of an orchestra of robots that can go out there and image vast
fields of biology and the pathologist plays a crucial role in being the informed human
perspective of differentiating what is pathologic versus what is normal within that biology. [music playing]

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