Re: The future of the Histology lab?

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From:"R.Wadley" <>
Date:Wed, 07 Jul 1999 12:17:38 +1000
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	Dear Tim,

	I'm not about to hold my breath waiting for this one.  

	I agree for many routine cases it will be a boon.  But very few resin
impregnation methods are as fast as paraffin or can handle as large a
specimen.  I can also think of no end of staining procedures that work
really well on sections that would be impossible on whole tissue samples.
For every sample that can use this technology, I guess there would be be at
least 1 or 2 that still require the good old fashioned hands on approach. 

	I remember a few years ago all our paraffins were going to be cut
automatically, collected by robot arm onto slides, stained, cover slipped &
labelled for the pathologist without the need for human intervention.  That
never happened either.

	While I support further technical advances in the field of histology, a
lot of the proposed new ideas work very well in carefully controlled
situations & significantly less well in the real world.

	I'll be ready for the brave new world of histology when these grand plans
actually work, & are reliable & affordable enough to warrant their
placement in the hospital & pathology labs where most histology scientists
& technicians work.

	No, I'm not a Luddite (but my ancestors were transported to Tasmania as
convicts for the crime of machinery breaking).  I do run  a state of the
art laser analysis facility, & that hasn't stopped good old fashioned
histology either!



At 04:22 PM 7/6/99 EDT, you wrote:
>A recent article in the June 1999 CAP Today (U.S. only), "Virtual Tissue," 
>and the web site give one possible version of the histology 
>lab 5 to 20 years from now (depending on whether you are in a research or 
>clinical lab). The article has sample images, the web site only has an 
>explaination of the technology about to hit the histology lab.
>In short, a piece of pre-stained, resin-embedded tissue is cut into 
>thousands of sections by an automated microtome. Some sections are kept for 
>specialized studies but the vast majority are discarded. Instead of using 
>the sections, a digital image is made of the block face after each section 
>and a 3D digital image of the entire tissue is produced.  Using your desktop 
>computer you can then "section" the 'virtual tissue' in the most useful 
>plane for diagnosis.
>Stains are applied before embedding using fluorescent dyes for the common 
>tissue elements. These "stains" can then be interpreted by computer 
>enhancement to produce the "stains" a pathologist is used to seeing.
>Seems that with DVD technology a microscopical 3D digital image of the 
>entire tissue sample from a case can be stored.
>If you wonder how it looks, an "H&E" by this method is as good or better 
>than a real H&E. It certainly has better detail.
>I think the histology lab is about to be 'all shook up.' Hope you all are 

R. Wadley, B.App.Sc, M.L.S
Laboratory Manager
Cellular Analysis Facility
School of Microbiology & Immunology
UNSW, New South Wales, Australia, 2052
Ph (BH) 	+61 (2) 9385 3517
Ph (AH)	+61 (2) 9555 1239
Fax 	+61 (2) 9385 1591

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