Northern Ireland Virtual Tissue Archive

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The Northern Ireland Virtual Tissue Archive (NIVTA)[1] is an initiative intending to establish a European wide network for virtual tissue archiving, aimed at supporting clinical trials, biomarker research, tissue microarray analysis and virtual slide-based education. PathXL[2] from i-Path[3] will provide the backbone tissue management software for this initiative and support the archiving, delivery and online analysis of digital tissue scans. Housed within Queen's University's Bioimaging Core Technology Unit, uses an Aperio CS system and a Hamamatsu system with fluorescent scanning capability.[4]

Tissue banking[edit]

Tissue banking is central to enhancing patient care as it allows for the extensive collection of well classified and appropriately stored tissue samples,[5] allowing large-scale trials to determine biomarkers for the classification of disease and for the development of therapies. Presently, these tissue archives exist as large volumes of microscopic glass slides, which are prone to loss or breakage,[6] making them awkward to store and retrieve for analysis where they can only be viewed in one location at a time.

Virtual microscopy[edit]

Glass slides are digitally scanned in their entirety to provide a high resolution digital image using a digital scanning system. Digital slides can be retrieved from a large storage system, and viewed on a computer screen, by running PathXL image management software on a standard web browser, and assessed in exactly the same way as on a microscope.[citation needed]