Services associated to digitalised contents of tissues in biobanks across Europe – BIOPOOL

author: Roberto Bilbao, Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research (BIOEF)
published: July 16, 2012,   recorded: June 2012,   views: 3716


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Nowadays it has become common practice to take digital images of thin slices of biopsies that are obtained for studying the composition of cells, glands, tissues and organs, and the possible pathologies that may affect them. These images are of high interest in medical diagnostics, research and education.

Pathology departments in hospitals and Biobanks are usually the facilities that provide archived biological samples for use in life sciences. They manage the tissue samples, the associated digital images and other complementary digital data (health information such as pathologies or treatments followed by the patient). Although most of the pathology departments and biobanks adequately capture and store digital images of the different biologic materials, it is not so usual for biobanks to adequately associate the representative health information to the digital images of their samples and it is even less usual sharing these images in a network. So, the digital images are usually spread all over different systems stored in different formats, databases and facilities belonging to different types of institutions and they are not easily identifiable and reachable. This creates a difficult environment for sharing and reusing this type of data between different interested organisations.

The BIOPOOL consortium project has been created to carry out a new approach, that arises from the need of pathology departments and biobanks of sharing, exchanging, processing, understanding and exploiting the digital histology images and the data associated to the biologic material stored in these institutions. The project will develop the needed technology to extract and gather this digital information from different pools, analyse it, and being able to compare it and to score images similar to one provided as a search pattern based on an innovative Content Based Image Retrieval (CBIR) system capable of searching histological images using different mixed text and image queries. BIOPOOL will establish a complete intelligent biobank and pathology department network, building a constructive basis for pan-European cooperation in diagnosis and medical research.

Seven partners from four different countries collaborate together in BIOPOOL. A great effort is done by the SMEs within this consortium project. The results coming from BIOPOOL will be translated into new services and products using the technologies and data pools provided by the other organisations allowing more precise actuations in digital pathology, especially in diagnosis.

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