2020 Volume 33 Issue 2 Pages 131-139
The Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (JPMA) has instituted a task force (TF) for the “development of image analysis technology for histopathological changes” as part of the collaboration for realizing cutting-edge drug development since 2016. In recent years, there has been progress in the digital pathology technology; however, few applications in nonclinical drug development studies have been observed. Therefore, TF performed a questionnaire survey to investigate the current status, needs, possibility, and development of image analysis. The subjects were 35 member companies of the JPMA. The questionnaire was set to assess the efficacy and/or safety of researchers engaged in pathological evaluations for each company. The questions focused on the experiences, implementation, and issues regarding histopathological examinations; the need for image analysis software; and future views. Valid responses were obtained from 26 companies. Most companies assumed that the beneficial aspect of image analysis is to gain objectivity and persuasiveness; however, challenges in the analysis conditions with regard to accuracy and without subjectivity persist. Additionally, there seems to be a need for image analysis software with advanced digital pathology technology, with most companies believing that, in the future, pathological evaluations will be partly performed by computers. In conclusion, in this questionnaire survey, TF extracted the current status of image analysis in nonclinical studies performed by pharmaceutical companies and collected opinions on future prospects regarding the development of image analysis software with advanced digital pathology technology.