At cellular level—the cytopathologic analysis of isolated cells and their nuclei—cancer can often be discovered earlier and sometimes be identified even more accurately, at lower costs and with less discomfort for the patient than at tissue level (histopathology) or at organ level (radiology, nuclear medicine). In particular computational approaches to quantitative analysis of cells and sub–cellular structures yield reliable diagnostic information beyond the traditional subjective visual inspection.
A further remarkable improvement of the diagnostic precision is obtained by a multimodal cell analysis (MMCA): MMCA exploits more exhaustively the information provided by both visible light and fluorescence microscopy by the fusion of diagnostic data for individual cells. To this end, the specific diagnostic information of complementary evaluation methods, i.e. different stainings and marker demonstrations applied to the cells, are accumulated cell–wise by a precise registration of the cells and their nuclei after successive re–staining processes. Thus, improved reliability and expressiveness of diagnoses is achieved on even lower numbers of cells.
Figures at right show a protype mmca workstation (1), morphologically stained cells (2), DNA–stained cells (3), cells with AgNOR demonstration (4), and registered cells labeld with the quantitative results yielded from the three above stains (5). Click on thumbnail to blow up! >>
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