Diagnosis via high resolution digitized microscopic slides on screen is called virtual microscopy (VM).  Digital images (WSI – whole slide images) with a resolution of up to 300.000 x 500.000 pixels revolutionise microscopic diagnostics. Currently VM is used mostly during training and teleconsulting but the real potential lies within routine diagnosis.

In Germany alone the diagnosis of about 50.000 cases per day can be supported with VM. The lack of fast processors and cheap memory was a problem in the past. Today these requirements can be easily met, but intelligent and easy to use software is still missing. The “Virtual Specimen Scout” is about to close this gap.


Through automatic pre-processing and analysis of WSI three core functions should be supported:

  • pre-diagnostic analysis – detection of diagnostically relevant areas (diagnostic clues)
  • Measurement and diagnostic valuation of complex structures during screening
  • Comparison of the currently surveyed slides with thousands of reference
  • slides to identify similar cases – „Pathology Retrieval Engine“

The “Virtual Specimen Scout” should reduce the time to diagnose while
at the same time improve and ensure quality.

Scope of Application and Test

Research is focused on:

  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Breast cancer
  • Rejection diagnostic for transplanted kidneys
  • Nerve and muscle biopsies

The realisation of the “Virtual Specimen Scout” project and successful test should apply to the chosen specimen archives starting with over 1000 WSI.