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First-Of-Its-Kind AI-Enabled Smart Microscopy Platform to Improve Precision in Cancer Diagnostics

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 04 Aug 2023
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Image: The smart microscopy platform leverages multi-resolution open top light sheet microscope (Photo courtesy of Alpenglow)
Image: The smart microscopy platform leverages multi-resolution open top light sheet microscope (Photo courtesy of Alpenglow)

Presently, drug developers and healthcare practitioners depend on antiquated methodologies to tackle increasingly complex tasks such as diagnosing diseases, quantifying biomarkers, and predicting responses to innovative treatments. Various companies have attempted to modernize the approach by digitizing specimens and adding more markers to a single slide, yet they still face the challenges of less than 1% of tissue specimens being analyzed and the inability to visualize complex structures and intercellular distributions in three dimensions. Now, a groundbreaking 3D spatial biology platform can rapidly digitize entire tissue specimens without causing any damage. The platform also provides AI-powered quantitative analysis to respond to crucial queries from clinicians and drug developers with greater precision and certainty.

Alpenglow Biosciences (Seattle, WA, USA) is using its proprietary multi-resolution 3Di platform for 3D spatial biology to develop artificial intelligence (AI) enabled smart microscopy. Alpenglow, in collaboration with CorePlus (Ponce, Puerto Rico), will utilize AI and 3D spatial biology to advance pathology from 2D qualitative to 3D quantitative. 3D imaging generates significantly more data than traditional slide-based methods by digitizing entire biopsy specimens instead of a single slice. AI and machine learning algorithms play a vital role in quantifying key biomarkers and identifying areas that require a more in-depth pathologist review. The aim is to automate the selection of tissue regions that require further scrutiny, which could eventually be instrumental in diagnosis or predicting responses to new therapies.

Alpenglow is advancing its smart microscopy platform, which employs its multi-resolution open-top light sheet microscope. Currently, the process for selecting areas of interest is manual and must be performed after data processing. Alpenglow plans to devise solutions for the quick processing of vast microscopy datasets, which can be a terabyte or larger in size, and locate areas of interest across extensive volumes using AI for higher sub-micron resolution imaging and additional quantitative analysis. As part of the collaboration, CorePlus will annotate 3D prostate biopsy images to train AI models to recognize critical tissue structures, including cancer cells, immune cells, and vessels.

In order to develop the next-generation AI-powered imaging technology, Alpenglow is integrating NVIDIA Holoscan, a leading platform for constructing medical devices that facilitate AI edge computing on 3Di. Additionally, Alpenglow will utilize NVIDIA IGX, a robust edge AI hardware platform, to function alongside 3Di. As a participant in the NVIDIA Inception program for innovative startups, Alpenglow is closely collaborating with the NVIDIA healthcare team to harness its GPU-accelerated image processing pipeline and expedite image processing on terabyte-scale datasets to enable automated region of interest detection. Alpenglow aims to speed up traditional pathology workflows, which can take from days to weeks, and deliver results in merely hours using the whole tissue sample.

“The future of pathology is 3D,” said Dr. Nicholas Reder, MD, MPH and CEO of Alpenglow Biosciences. “Alpenglow is poised to break the antiquated glass slide paradigm of pathology and usher in 3D spatial biology.”

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