New Approaches in Quantitative Digital Pathology for Cancer Immunoscore Research and Companion Diagnostic Development from Flagship Biosciences

17 May 2013
Flagship Biosciences has recently launched a tumor immunology review portal that leverages the growing field of whole-slide imaging (WSI). With the application of digital analysis algorithms to quantitate image analysis data, enhanced accuracy and reproducibility are achieved with WSI. Furthermore, quantitative digital pathology and WSI allow for the objective quantitation of inflammatory cells in the tumor microenvironment providing an accurate determination of an immunoscore.

Rather than manually assessing cell populations on a limited, subjective scale, WSI can be performed and statistically powerful data generated. In our CLIA-certified histology laboratory, Flagship has identified and validated key pairs of antibodies. This allows for the ability to stain and quantify multiple cell populations in a single section as is typically necessary with limited clinical biopsies. This technique can be utilized to evaluate patient populations as well as to evaluate treatment-derived effects on inflammatory cells.

Flagship Biosciences has been using this technology to quantify a variety of inflammatory cells (e.g., CD3+, CD4+,CD8+, FoxP3+, CD68+, CD163+, etc.) as well as quantify cells with specific inflammatory cell products (e.g., IL-1, IL-17, TNF, IFNγ, etc.) using our proprietary CellMapTM algorithm. For example, CD8+ (Figure 1) and CD3+ (Figure 2) cells can be identified in colorectal cancer which can further be quantified using CellMapTM (Figure 3).

Immunohistochemistry provides evidence of the distribution of CD8+ and CD3+ in colorectal cancer biopsies, but quantitative digital pathology allows one to quantitate these cells relative to the pathology and can provide a path to accurately determining the immunoscore. Our extensive quantitative image analysis team can assist you at all stages of your research ranging from early discovery to the development of a tissue-based companion diagnostic.

Figure: In Figure A, CD8+ T cells (brown) are clearly shown (high powered field) in both the lamina propria as well as in the epithelial cell layer. In Figure B, using CellMapTM CD8+ cells are selectively identified and quantified in the lamina propria. In Figure C, using CellMapTM the region of interest is switched to the epithelial layer and CD8+ cells have been identified and quantified.

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Sarah Thomas
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