Plainview, NY (PRWEB) February 11, 2011
Today a digitized, or computerized, form of immunohistochemistry (IHC) is revolutionizing the clinical pathology industry, helping pathologists make diagnoses at almost the click of a button. According to Dr. Joon Yim, a pathologist with Acupath Labs of Plainview, NY, “the benefits in improved accuracy, efficiency and speed are invaluable to the doctors and their patients who rely on pathology results.”
IHC is a test used by pathologists to detect disease and determine its source and how advanced it is, through the use of staining and dyes. The process was first founded in the 1940s, when for the first time researchers were able to identify abnormal cells using this technology. IHC allows pathologists to differentiate abnormal, or diseased, cells from healthy cells. IHC is used widely, especially in cancer diagnosis, where a delay in results can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
Today, digital pathology solutions for IHC use image analysis tools to help pathologists provide accurate, consistent, and almost-instant diagnoses for more informed decision-making. Digitized IHC allows pathologists to create digital copies of slides, and then analyze them instantly on a computer.
Dr Yim describes that in the “pre-digital” era, diagnoses were dependent upon the observations of pathologists using an arbitrary scale to grade the presence and extent of disease. Early attempts at turning IHC into a computerized process involved converting analog images into a digital format and then transforming the 256 separate shades of red, green and blue into a gray scale that could then be divided into sections for measuring and evaluating, leaving much room for mistake.
“It is outstanding today that digitized IHC gives pathologists a much clearer picture than was previously possible of what is going on,” notes Dr. Yim. With digitized IHC, biopsy slides are scanned into a computer, and pathologists can enter data about them, and then allow others to view the same exact slides on a computer screen, even video-conference with them.
Using the IHC technology, pathologists can find out where in the body a cancer originated by looking for cells which don’t belong in the culture. For example, breast cells in a liver would indicate that the tumor was actually breast cancer, which had metastasized to the liver, a vital finding when deciding treatment and prognosis. Before digitization, IHC results took much longer, delaying treatment.
The use of this new upgraded technology also saves time in cases which require quantitative analysis. With digitized IHC, pathologists can now count thousands of cells in seconds, a critical part of diagnosing an illness, versus hundreds previously counted manually. When speed is of the essence in diagnosing an illness, as it often is with cancer and other serious illnesses, digitized IHC dramatically reduces the amount of time between diagnosis and treatment.
Just as important, the data is then stored electronically for use by any other medical professional who needs access to the case, the tissue sample and digital slide information, anywhere, any time.
While digitized IHC has only been around for several years, it is changing the way pathologists view, and handle, disease, making it easier and less stressful for patients awaiting biopsy results.
Bio: Board-certified in anatomic pathology, Dr. Joon Yim serves as a staff pathologist for Acupath Laboratories, Inc., where he is responsible for the daily sign-out of a broad spectrum of surgical cases. Prior to joining Acupath, Dr. Yim served as an attending pathologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at New York University Medical Center from 2002 to 2006. Previously, Dr. Yim fulfilled fellowships at New York University Medical Center for surgical pathology. Prior to his fellowship, Dr. Yim completed his residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, University Hospital of Columbia University. Additionally, Dr. Yim holds positions in various medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, College of American Pathologists, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical School Admissions Committee, and Association for Pathology Informatics. He received his medical degree from UCLA.
Acupath Laboratories, Inc. located in Plainview, New York, is an anatomic pathology and cancer genetics laboratory. Acupath's mission is to deliver fast, accurate anatomic pathology, flow cytometry, molecular and cytogenetic analysis in a way that enhances the quality of medical care provided by practitioners while minimizing the risk of error. The research and development team continuously innovates, designing up to date methodologies for testing and new ways for doctors to access, exchange, record and analyze medical information. Acupath is committed to improve efficiencies of practice, superior service and greater patient knowledge and satisfaction. Acupath is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Joint Commission, and certified by the New York State Department of Health (DOH). http://www.acupath.com.
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