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March 2013:
Tissue Processors / Other Histology


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Tissue Processors: Antigen Retrieval and Immunohistochemistry
Jaleh Mansouri, M.D.


Tissue processors represent the cornerstone of the modern histologic laboratory. While the major function of these instruments is the routine processing of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue for morphologic pathologic evaluation, the growing number of available antibodies and the development of antigen retrieval methodologies have provided an increasingly important tool in the pathologic diagnosis of disease during the past two decades. Antigen retrieval utilizes a combination of buffer solutions and enzyme digestion to reverse protein cross-linking caused by fixatives such as formaldehyde. The application of heat (via microwaves, thermoelectric sources, autoclaving, etc.) enhances this process by facilitating protein unfolding and maximizing access to epitopes for binding to antibodies. While many laboratories have used homemade devices (i.e. microwave ovens) to perform antigen retrieval, digital automated microwave processors and other commercial equipment have become widely available from vendors. These instruments are able to perform antigen retrieval under very controlled conditions and may thus offer the advantage of producing more consistent and uniform immunohistochemical results.

Antigen retrieval and immunohistochemistry have had an influential role in biomedical research as well as in diagnostic pathology. One important application is in the area of proteomic profiling. As more potential prognostic and therapeutic molecular targets (i.e. epitopes) are discovered, these time-tested methods promise to provide a rich source of research material by enabling pathologists to study patterns of protein expression in FFPE archival tissue.


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Leica Microsystems is a leading global developer and manufacturer of a broad range of innovative, high-tech, precision optical systems for the imaging, measurement, and analysis of microstructures. Leica Microsystems is one of the market leaders in each of its four divisions: Life Science, Industry, Biosystems, and Surgical. Business areas include Microscopy and Imaging Systems, Specimen Preparation, Medical Equipment, and Antibodies and Reagents. The company offers instruments and system solutions for the entire histopathology process including the Novocastra™ range of antibodies and reagents, consumable products, and clinical microscopes. The company is represented in over 100 countries with 9 manufacturing facilities in 7 countries, sales and service organizations in 20 countries and an international network of dealers. Click here to visit us online.

Milestone Medical provides a portfolio of standardization and documentation products for the grossing workstation. From our MacroPATH D digital imaging, annotation and storage system to the CheckLITE non-contact specimen thickness measurement device and CutMATE grossing forceps, Milestone is building tools to ensure standardization of tissue thicknesses with great processing and results in mind! For more information call 866-995-5300, email info@milestonemed.com or visit us at www.milestonemed.com.

PerkinElmer Automated Tissue Microarrayers: Process tissue microarrays quickly and accurately while saving reagent, slides and time! The fully-automated TMA Master™ and Grand Master™ from PerkinElmer makes the process of creating tissue microarrays (TMAs) reliable, fast and easy. Creating TMA blocks by hand is difficult and time-consuming, while human errors can easily jeopardize entire studies. The perfect solution for automated arraying is available, whether you require low or high-volume block creation. The TMA Master can accept up to 5 blocks per run, while the Grand Master has a 72 block capacity. Both are now available with PCR option and are designed to integrate with our range of whole slide digital scanners.

Sakura Finetek USA is leading the revolution in Pathology with the Tissue-Tek® Xpress Rapid Tissue Processor and the AutoTEC® Automated Embedding System. Together these technologies allow your laboratory to achieve new levels in productivity. Our full line of Tissue-Tek® histology instrumentation and consumables include Tissue Processors, Embedding Systems, Microtomy and Cryotomy instruments, and Stainers and Coverslippers. Sakura is committed to changing the future of Pathology. Please visit our website at www.sakuraus.com for more details on our product portfolio, or contact Theresa Ford, Director of Marketing, at tford@sakuraus.com or (800) 725-8723 x7873.

Past / Future Feature Pages:

January 2013: Billing / Consulting / Management
February 2013: Microscopes / Microscopy Products
March 2013: Tissue Processors / Other Histology

April 2013: Laboratory Accreditation / Education / CME
May 2013: Computer Software and Systems
June 2013: Diagnostic Testing / Reagents
July 2013: Imaging / Digital / Photography
August 2013: Books & Journals
September 2013: Antibodies
October 2013: Laboratories
November 2013: Consumable Lab Products / Clinical Lab Analyzers
December 2013: Grossing Equipment / Workstations
January 2014: Billing / Consulting / Management
February 2014: Microscopes / Microscopy Products
March 2014: Tissue Processors / Other Histology

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