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Hamamatsu teams with Siemens Healthineers on digital pathology

08 Mar 2023

Photonics firm will provide whole slide scanners to medical technology giant under multi-year deal.

Hamamatsu Photonics has signed a major distribution deal with Siemens Healthineers that will see the Japanese firm provide its imaging slide scanners for digital pathology in the Americas and Europe.

The multi-year agreement centers on Hamamatsu’s “NanoZoomer” whole-slide scanners, which are capable of high-speed scanning and digitizing images of glass slides for applications such as cancer biopsy screening.

It is hoped that the partnership will help Siemens Healthineers bridge the gap between radiology and pathology, and to offer the full potential of digital operations for patient care.

“Digital pathology is at a tipping point, and the evolution from glass to digital is already transforming standards of care,” stated Hamamatsu, whose "NanoZoomer S360MD" slide scanners gained US Food & Drug Administration approval last year.

“The technological combination of high-speed, high-resolution imaging; trusted medical data storage; fast, secure data transmission; and intuitive, inter-operable workflows with continual improvements in artificial intelligence, are the key pillars supporting this movement.”

Digital transformation
In a joint release from the two companies, Hamamatsu’s Fumio Iwase, who heads up the systems division, said: “This partnership between Hamamatsu and Siemens Healthineers will create tremendous value for laboratories and healthcare ecosystems.

“Together, we will help laboratories across healthcare systems adopt digital pathology by seamlessly integrating pathologists' workflow with hardware to provide the utmost patient care.”

Iwase believes integrating complex hardware and software solutions into pathologists' workflow is critical to maximizing the potential of digital pathology in clinical environments.

Christian Zapf, the head of digital and automation at Siemens Healthineers, added: “We now complement our portfolio for digital pathology with the products and expertise of Hamamatsu.

“Together with our strong Syngo Carbon portfolio in enterprise imaging IT, we can now help our customers to comprehensively gain the benefits of a digital transformation in digital pathology.”

Clinical advantages
Initially released around 15 years ago, Hamamatsu’s “NanoZoomer” scanners are now available in a variety of formats, including some with fluorescence capability, and can be used to scan glass slides at speeds of more than one slide per minute.

“A digital pathology workflow allows routine tasks to become automated, consequently reducing the amount of staff and resources needed,” explains Hamamatsu. “Therefore, in comparison to traditional methods the running cost tends to be lower.”

The approach also enables pathologists and doctors to share images, retrieve cases, and obtain second opinions, with the overall aim of speeding up patient diagnosis and reducing human error.

A case study detailed on the Hamamatsu web site suggests that clinical pathologists in Sweden using 18 NanoZoomer systems across multiple sites were able to reduce reporting times by more than a quarter, and achieve significantly faster times for cancer diagnosis overall.

The approach also helped to address a shortage of clinical pathologists, and enable remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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