Medical science has made incredible advances in modern times. However, the field of anatomic pathology has remained largely static since the 19th century. It is regarded as an artisanal practice – manual and qualitative with little attention given to automation or computation.
In recent decades, though, pathology has shown immense growth potential, not only in its methods, but also in its role in the understanding, development, and diagnosis of disease.
Diseases faced today are more complex and therapeutics potentially more precise, requiring more nuanced investigations and even better platform to explain the issues. Platforms developed in recent years through technological advancements have empowered the healthcare sector. 3Scan is amongst the prime examples of companies leading this push.
The company’s 3D tissue imaging platform improves the comprehensiveness of investigations in the same way gene sequencing revolutionized genetics. The company believes that every biopsy, sample, or specimen should provide broad, spatially-indexed information to further medical innovation and improve clinical outcomes.
It envisions a transformation of how scientists and doctors understand anatomy. 3Scan supports both translational medical research, and the biotechnology industry in its quest to create new diagnostics and novel therapies.
Detailed Representation of Anatomical Structures
A San Francisco-based startup, 3Scan uses revolutionary technology that digitizes entire tissue samples through serial sectioning and simultaneous high-resolution image capture. The procedure enables them to compute metrics and apply mathematical models with a high degree of precision.
This computer-aided technique further maps related microenvironment structures and produces detailed 3D representations of anatomical structures, and supports the emerging field of computational pathology throughout the procedure.
The Pursuit of Biotechnological Innovation
Todd Huffman is the CEO and Co-Founder of 3Scan. Prior to joining the company, he worked for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) on advanced technology development in post-disaster stabilization.
Todd’s background is in complex technology innovation, particularly in the domains of collection and organization of data. He has a deep interest in mapping the human brain. His scientific bent has driven the unceasing innovation efforts at 3Scan. Todd hopes to help digitize tissue samples in support of scientific discovery and the progress of biotechnology.
A Revolutionary but Complex Idea
Timing is the most essential factor when introducing a new product or an innovative idea. As a concept, 3Scan was specially designed for the pharmaceutical industry five years before the company was officially established. The time delay was to allow for the IT industry to lower prices on compute, transport, and storage technologies, as 3Scan’s techniques push the limits of what’s possible on data creation. The 3Scan robots can collect up to 50 terabytes per robot per day, so the trends in performance on processors, networking, and hard drives have only recently made 3Scan’s approach viable.
The company has been developing its products in translational research and drug development scenarios. The pharmaceutical industry implements cutting edge technologies before the clinical markets due to lower regulatory barriers and more technology progressive workflow philosophies. Thus its focus is on being patient and thoughtful with product design to fit the evolution of underlying technology, application requirements, and market maturity.
Automating and Digitizing Pathology
Anatomic pathology is an antiquated discipline, filled with highly manual, time-intensive processes. 3Scan is automating the process of slicing and imaging; by removing the human hand, it speeds up tissue analysis 100-fold. The idea is to look at these tissue slides in the context of an entire organ. A 3D view of, for example, the microvasculature of a tumor helps in observing the effects and efficacy of drugs. This process takes days and while it can show the microanatomy of a cell, very little can be discovered about how that cell fits within the greater tissue structure.
3Scan, by contrast, is working on automating and digitizing the cross-section of tissue in its original structure, without the human factor to slow things down or introduce errors. The idea is to look at these tissue slices in the context of an entire organ. 3Scan is automating the process of slicing and imaging; by removing the human hand, it speeds up tissue analysis 100-fold. Many diseases manifest at the tissue and organ scale, so a conventional slide on a microscope may not provide the same insights that a full tissue analysis would. A 3D view of, for example, the microvasculature of a tumor helps in observing the effects and efficacy of drugs.
Increasing the Predictive Value of Preclinical Studies
3Scan is a company that gives pathologists a cutting edge technological tool that focuses on increasing the predictive value of preclinical studies for clinical trials. In addition to this, 3Scan is removing sampling bias from the pathology workflow by automating the sectioning and imaging process using a robotic microscope.
This ensures that every tissue sample is comprehensively digitized with its structural alignment intact. Moreover, 3Scan uses its proprietary software to interpret the image stack in three dimensions, providing spatial information that rivals radiology with light microscopy resolution.
These features are unsurpassed and have elevated 3Scan to the status of an industry leader with its real-time solutions. Since its inception, the company has delivered end-to-end solutions with multiple experts from a diverse range of disciplines who are dedicated to empowering each piece of the value chain.
Modernizing Pathology Workflows
3Scan is focused on tackling diseases that cannot be cured using conventional pathology workflows. The company is working to expand their assays into wider range of disorders and find more effective cures for disease.