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Virtual Transmission Microscopy

Conventional histology is based on light microscopy of thin tissue sections stained with absorptive dyes.  These techniques, developed more than 100 years ago, are the standard for the evaluation of nearly all cancer. However, they are slow, costly, subjective and inherently analog because tissue most be fixed in formaldehyde and then cut into thin wax sections for viewing. 

A new generation of digital microscopes can produce images of tissue without first cutting it to produce slides.  These systems enable 3D imaging, rapid evaluation of fresh tissue, telemedicine, and can be easily integrated into machine learning frameworks.  However, these systems produce images that are fundamentally different in appearance to current clinical standards, posing a substantial barrier to adoption.

skin cancer

Virtual transillumination rendering of a two photon image of skin cancer. On the left the true color image is shown, on the right, the image is rendered to resemble a conventional histology slide.

Virtual transmission microscopy uses ray tracing and other computer graphics methods to render images that closely resemble glass histology slides viewed on a transmission light microscopy from digital data without actually generating glass slides.  These techniques enable clinicians trained in conventional microscopy to more readily evaluate data generated by newer technologies while providing a convenient framework for combining conventional histology with newer machine learning technology.  

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