Bringing Digital Pathology to Remote Locations

Partnership objective

Bring the same level of diagnostic care to cancer patients in every part of the world.

This service enables expanded access to expertise and specialists. This service enables expanded access to expertise and specialists. Copyright Roche

What are the health needs and challenges?

The WHO warns that a “tidal wave” of cancer is looming on the global horizon, with low and middle-income countries increasingly bearing the brunt of it. Yet the vast majority of trained pathologists are located in developed countries, not in these areas of need. For example, in Cameroon, Africa, 5,000 patients share a single pathologist - and the ratio is even more daunting in other parts of the world. This is combined with a lack of specialist training as pathologists who practice in developing countries may not have access to a volume of difficult cases for study, the most current literature, or the advantage of sub-specialty training.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges:

Ventana, a member of the Roche Group, is a leading provider of Digital Pathology solutions – the digitizing of tissue samples that pathologists normally view on glass slides through a microscope.

These “digital slides” which are stored in clouds, can be viewed, analyzed and shared with others, no matter where they live. This means that pathologists in developing countries can send a ‘scan’ of a patient’s sample to experts around the globe to get their help in the diagnosis.

This service enables:

  • Real-time collaboration for consultations and education across the globe
  • Expanded access to expertise and specialists from developed countries
  • Consistency in the evaluation of cancer markers
  • Improving access to advanced diagnostic and therapeutic expertise, helping to raise the standard of care for patients worldwide

Roche is working to develop innovative solutions, such as educational software to help train and teach the pathologists of the future, to improve the practice of pathology worldwide.

In 2015, Ventana launched a new automated tissue staining system that enhances patient and technician safety and produces good staining quality. 

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Through Ventana digital pathology slide scanners and image and workflow management software, pathologists are able to scan slides and partner with specialised experts worldwide to help provide the most advanced cancer diagnostics available to their patients.

The Ventana software provides the ability to train the next generation of pathologists: it's technology has enabled experts at the University of Nebraska to connect with researchers in Mumbai, patients in Kenya gained access to renowned pathology experts in Canada, and in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, patients gained access to pathologists at the University of Miami through telepathology.


Hope without Borders: The Promise of Telepathology

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) University of Miami, University of Nebraska, Ventana

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Other Business

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases, Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Development of Physical Infrastructure, Health System Infrastructure - mHealth, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Children, Health professionals, Men, Patients in needs of treatment, Women, Youth

Region(s) Latin America & Caribbean, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, World

Number of Countries 6

Country(ies) Cameroon, Canada, Haiti, Kenya, United States of America, Worldwide

Research Country(ies) Worldwide

Start Date 2009

More information Ventana technology brochure Roche Access to Healthcare

Completed date 2015