January 3, 2011 — Royal Philips Electronics and Definiens, a health image intelligence company, have signed a cooperation agreement to jointly develop a digital pathology system to support clinical diagnosis of several types of cancer, beginning with breast cancer. The companies will integrate Definiens’ image analysis solutions into Philips’ imaging systems, providing pathologists with tools for assessment of immunohistochemically stained cancer tissue.
Pathologists examine tissue slices treated with appropriate stains to reveal specific biomarkers of disease (such as cancer-related proteins) or the structure of tissues, which can indicate disease state. By automating biomarker expression analysis and characterization of tissue morphology, Philips and Definiens aim to help pathologists generate more consistent and standardized data from tissue samples. The automated process will provide oncologists and physicians with comprehensive data designed to enhance treatment decisions and patient care.
In the initial project, the companies will focus on immunohistology-based breast cancer diagnostics, including biomarkers such as HER2/neu, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), Ki-67 and p53. Subsequently, Definiens plans to develop software to support analysis of hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained tissue. The companies also plan to develop similar approaches for other cancers, such as prostate and colon cancer.