Leveraging its expertise in medical imaging and healthcare informatics solutions (e.g. radiology Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS)), Philips will deliver integrated solutions for digital pathology. Image analysis applications for quantifying biomarkers and histological features in tissue samples, both of which are core competencies at Definiens, are an essential element of such solutions.

The intended 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. Digitization 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.

Bob van Gemen, general manager of Philips Digital Pathology, said: “The memorandum of understanding with Definiens underpins Philips’ objective of offering a full suite of image analysis tools that can be used in combination with mainstream histological staining techniques and procedures in pathology.

“As a result of ageing societies, there will be many more sick people in the world that need to be accurately and efficiently diagnosed. I am convinced that the combined knowledge of Philips and Definiens will result in meaningful innovations in pathology to speed up procedures and help pathologists in their decision making.”

Thomas Heydler, CEO of Definien, said: “We are excited about this best-in-class alliance that brings together Philips, a well known leader in medical imaging and image management systems, and Definiens, the world-wide leader in image intelligence. This collaboration will play a major role in advancing health intelligence and contribute towards more accurate clinical diagnosis and treatment, which are two key hallmarks in the drive towards affordable and personalized healthcare.”