Free access to pathology images and expert opinion
- JC Lyford1
© Current Science Ltd 2000
Published: 1 December 2000
TumorBoard is a huge database of copyright-free digital pathology images, and claims to be the largest of its kind in the world. It has around 150 members, all of whom are board certified pathologists, and who contribute images and opinions to the site. However no registration or passwords are needed to browse the database. The site is sponsored by a digital camera manufacturer but the site contains no obvious or covert advertising, apart from a single link on the homepage.
The main attraction of TumorBoard is its database of high-quality colour tumour images. The majority of the images are histology slides but there are some gross specimens, biopsies, and even molecular analyses. Each image is annotated with a specimen description (including measurements and date), name of contributor, and unique ID. The database contains thousands of images and is fully searchable by a variety of parameters (ID, title, date, description, keyword, contributor). Although the 'search' interface is very basic, it is effective and quick and offers some advanced options such as 'search within a range' or 'sort by' various parameters. All images can be freely downloaded and used for educational purposes.
In addition to hosting the image database, TumorBoard also acts as a forum for pathologists to discuss intriguing cases through the use of digital imagery. Users are encouraged to submit images for possible inclusion in the database, and also to gain a second opinion on a case from an official site member (although such discussions must be conducted in private). Any practising pathologist who wishes to become a member can apply online, and if accepted, will be consulted about the evolution of the website, as well as about specific cases.
Other pages in the site include 'case of the month', which features pathology slides from particularly unusual tumours, and 'what's new', which lists the most recent images uploaded to the database.
The homepage has links to a selection of relevant symposia and websites, and also has buttons linking to Medscape and the sponsor company.
The site is updated frequently, and new images are uploaded to the database daily. The text-only pages in the site do not appear to be updated regularly, and are marked 'copyright 1996-1999'.
TumorBoard is the brainchild of two practising pathologists, and is impressive because it is providing a purely educational service. What the site lacks in terms of flashy features and high-tech graphics, it makes up for by containing an easily-searchable database of real clinical images, plus free access to a 'second opinion' service from leading pathologists. The site would be of use to those involved in cancer research, clinical pathologists, and any clinician with an interest in tumour histology. It is a particularly valuable resource for scientists working in relative isolation, or without access to standard texts/journals, such as those in less developed countries.
- TumorBoard. [http://www.tumorboard.com/]