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Digital Pathology

20 The Digital Path (ology) to Personalized Medicine Though it is the underlying science that drives diagnosis and treatment decisions, pathology is an often overlooked field. As part of the health continuum, as the turning point for treatment, as a new source for research and discovery – in all these ways, the power of pathology has gone unnoticed. However, the industry is slowly coming to realize its potential in transforming care. Personalized medicine offers the promi- se of individualizing care – a particularly strong motivator in the field of oncology. By harnessing the data that pathology al- ready has, we can be the ones to put the industry on the path to making persona- lized medicine a reality. Size Does Matter… In research, size matters. The more infor- mation you have, the better; it gives you raw material to work with and it validates your finding. When it comes to pathology, size matters both in terms of how many samples a pathology repository may con- tain and the size and quality of each piece of data related to those samples. The Mount Sinai Health System in New York, USA is comprised of seven hospital campuses serving approximately 170,000 inpatients and 2.6 million outpatients annually. Over the years, these facilities have collectively accumulated hundreds of thousands of tissue samples – all exi- sting in the form of glass tissue slides. Though they have historically been used to diagnose and then archived away, the- se slides hold clues to diseases, treat- ments and potential breakthroughs. This sheer quantity of data that has been hiding away is the epitome of untapped data. Last year Philips and Mount Sinai an- nounced to create a comprehensive digi- tal image repository containing the digital scans of all these glass tissue slides. “Big data” may be taking center stage to- day, but pathology is filled with something that may be even more critical in health- care – “fat data.” Digitized slides are huge files with extremely high-quality, detailed images that capture secrets of the hu- man body from blood and tissue across a range of diseases. The insights they hold don’t offer the big picture worldview that big data promises, but they are invalua- ble about a very specific item that could transform care for an individual – or a po- pulation. …But Context Matters More However, sheer numbers are not enough. How can this data be translated into knowledge? By creating a comprehensive digital image repository of all these slides, researchers and clinicians suddenly have access to a huge library of source mate- rial. While having millions of digital pieces of tissue has its own value, that value is multiplied when that data is correlated to other clinical data for a given patient, with that patient’s history in mind. That leads to a much more comprehensive view and analysis of results, treatment protocols and behavior at a personalized level. By taking this information and integrating it; analyzing it; looking at whole slide patho- logy images from clinical laboratory ser- vices, genetic analysis, radiology, and sur- gical and molecular pathology, the deep and complex puzzle pieces about individu- alized patient care start to come together. Unlocking its Secrets Now take pathology data, in context with healthcare data, and multiply it by

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