Philips and Definiens, a Germany-based company specialising in image analysis solutions, have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop and market clinical decision support solutions for digital pathology.

The initial project between Philips and Definiens will focus on immunohistology-based breast cancer diagnostics, which includes the detection of biomarkers HER2, Estrogen Receptor (ER), Progesterone Receptor (PR), Ki67 and p53. Philips and Definiens also plan to investigate solutions for other cancers such as prostate and colon cancer.

Currently, anatomic pathologists examine tissue slices, after treating them with appropriate stains, through a microscope. The aim of staining is to reveal specific biomarkers of disease — such as cancer-related proteins — or to enhance contrast.

According to Philips, digitisation of the images is now enabling the use of objective and quantitative image analysis tools. The expected benefits of this development include enhanced operational efficiency and productivity for pathology departments, and increased diagnostic confidence.