A research scientist at a Hong Kong academic medical center primarily uses digital pathology for research purposes, specifically in developing and comparing imaging hardware for pathology. They are developing a new imaging hardware that can directly image freshly unprocessed tissues, eliminating the need for traditional formalin fixation and paraffin embedding. The technology is currently primarily used in preclinical and translational research, with plans to eventually translate it for use by pathologists and hospitals. The scientist notes that as a whole, digital pathology is used in the clinic for primary diagnosis and therapy trials. In Hong Kong, digital pathology is primarily used for oncology, with a focus on lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. The combination of digital pathology with gene sequencing is being explored for better predicting patient outcomes. Hospitals in Hong Kong commonly use slide scanners from Hamamatsu for image capture and software from the same company for image management and processing. PathAI and other AI-based software are also used for image analysis. Some of the current limitations of digital pathology mentioned include time-consuming workflows and the lack of 3D pathology. Cost and the need for specialized personnel are identified as barriers to wider adoption of the technology. However, they foresee increased adoption and use of digital pathology in the next five years, particularly as a diagnostic tool, driven by an increased number of cancer patients.
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