Image: Courtesy of Aperio Technologies
 VIRTUAL SLIDE comprising 38,000 x 43,500 pixels, scanned at 108,000 pixels/ inch. Selected views show a thumbnail (top), an intermediate-resolution image (middle), and a small region of the full-resolution virtual slide (bottom).

Robert Cardiff has thought a lot about virtual microscopy. As chair of the pathology committee for the National Cancer Institute's Mouse Models of Human Cancer Consortium, Cardiff is charged with creating an image archive of both murine and human histological samples. As professor of pathology at the University of California, Davis' Center for Comparative Medicine, he helps run the medical school's pathology course as well. It is an expensive operation: "We spend an enormous amount of money making glass slide sets, maintaining the slide sets, handing them out each year, [and] renting microscopes." The solution to both of these problems is virtual slides--digital representations of histological samples at diagnostic resolution.

Several companies offer...

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