The future of the Histology lab?

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>
From:Tim Morken <>
Date:Tue, 06 Jul 1999 16:22:00 EDT
Content-Type:text/plain; format=flowed


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 

Tim Morken, B.A., EMT(MSA), HTL(ASCP)
Infectious Disease Pathology
Centers for Disease Control
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333


Phone: (404) 639-3964
FAX:  (404)639-3043

Get Free Email and Do More On The Web. Visit

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>