Slide preparation aids accuracy

Jan. 1, 2004

Slide preparation aids accuracy

Attaining excellence in histological slide assessments is largely dependent on achieving excellence in the slide preparation and staining process. Whether using manual, semiautomated, or automated systems, the objective remains the same to produce slides of optimum quality on a consistent basis, enhancing the value of test results, and ultimately providing physicians with the basis for accurate treatment solutions for patients. Significant scientific and technological advances have been made over the years in both the instrumentation used and the methodology employed. We bring you a sampling of what the current market has to offer.


Universal slide processor
The Autostainer Plus is an automated horizontal slide-processing system compatible with currently available reagents for staining formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue, frozen sections, cytospins, cell smears, and fine-needle aspirates. The priority slide-handling feature offers the convenience of adding more slides to a run without waiting for the run to end, rendering prioritization of important cases. The unit consists of a slide processor, desktop computer, and Seymour Labeling System. Barcode driven, the system operates on Windows XP-based software that allows for pre-programmed protocols and customized programs, enhancing increased workflow, turnaround time, and overall lab productivity.

The Autostainer Plus

DakoCytomation California Inc.

Space-saving robotics
A robotic staining system, the ST5010 Autostainer XL, is a fully self-contained bench-top unit designed to perform up to 15 different staining protocols/programs simultaneously with a staining throughput of up to 150 slides per hour. In addition, the system can be programmed via the control panel, enabling the individual setting of different parameters for the incubation time, agitation, and sequence of the staining containers with each selected program. The system has 18 reagent stations, an integrated oven, fume control with charcoal filter, and five wash stations with flow-control valves. Continuous loading and unloading of slide-carrier racks ensures that the instrument is flexible even when the workload is high.

Leica Autostainer XL (ST5010)
Microsystems Inc.

Genomic-age workstation
Designed to advance the histopathology lab into the age of standardizing cell- and tissue-based in situ testing, the BioGenex i6000 consolidated workstation provides accurate and highly reproducible staining results for better patient-therapy selection. Offering both speed and versatility, the systems new 10-10-10 protocol stains 60 slides in approximately two hours, with a maximum throughput of up to 250 slides per eight-hour period. Added features include the simultaneous processing of special stains, immunohistochemistry (IHC), in situ hybridization (ISH) and hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) slides in the same run, random, STAT, and continuous access and a comprehensive test menu with over 300 protocols, which can be customized for optimum results. 

BioGenex i6000 Automated System

BioGenex Laboratories Inc.

Intuitive software
The two-level concept of the Varistain Gemini saves bench space while promoting easy turntable access to all dishes from the front of the machine. Flexible with simultaneous multiple programs, the units unique design features include ergonomic control panels, two sets of separate doors for loading and unloading multiple 20-slide baskets, and intuitive software easing the performance of separate protocols with multiple baskets in process. In addition, with the touch of a button, the software schedules runs, allocates reagents, optimizes the reagent plan, and calculates the most efficient route for each protocol. The software then graphically displays the progress of each basket, along with a text summary on the units VGA monitor.

Shandon Varistain Gemini

Thermo Electron Corp.

Walk-away efficiency
The Tissue-Tek DRS 2000 automated slide stainer offers high throughput and true walk-away efficiency with its space-saving, two-level design and graphical process monitor, which displays operational information relative to the exact location of each set, time remaining at the station, and time until program completion. Handling up to 11 sets of 40 slides per set, the system features 27 reservoirs, a drying station, and two start stations, facilitating continuous loading as it automatically picks up each basket set and moves it to all programmed solution and wash stations. In addition, the DRS 2000 has a memory capacity of up to 20 user-defined protocols, allowing special sequencing, user definition of individual programs, and independent agitation selection for each reservoir, promoting enhanced staining. 

Tissue-Tek DRS 2000

Sakura Finetek USA Inc.

Thin-layer cytology system
The PrepStain Slide Processor is a semiautomated liquid-based cytology sample-preparation system that produces and stains representative slides with a homogeneous, thin layer of cervical cells while maintaining diagnostic cell clusters. The process includes cell preservation, randomization, enrichment of diagnostic material, pipetting, sedimentation, staining, and coverslipping to create a SurePath slide for use in routine cytology screening and categorization. Capable of processing up to 90 slides per hour, the system offers flexible staining options for either onboard or off-line staining. 

PrepStain Slide Processor

TriPath Imaging Inc.

New-generation productivity
Creating a meticulously controlled environment for the independent or simultaneous automated preparation of IHC, ISH, and fluoroscent ISH (FISH) and FITC slide applications, the BenchMark XT instrument offers histology labs a new generation of productivity and flexibility. The system optimizes protocols with flexible options, including extended incubation times and varying temperature control, while offering the option of using ones own primary antibody or selecting one from the 260 antibodies available. With a throughput of up to 60 IHC slides per eight-hour shift, the BenchMark XT can also run unattended overnight and report up to an additional 30 results the following morning.

BenchMark XT 

Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

Morphological detail 
Designed for implementation in large-volume laboratories, the ThinPrep 3000 Processor is a fully automated instrument capable of processing four batches of up to 80 ThinPrep Pap Test samples per eight-hour shift. It offers a standardized specimen-preparation method for a variety of cytologic specimens that minimizes cell loss and preserves morphologic detail for clinical diagnosis. Added features include security maintenance of patient samples through automatic chain-of-custody verification and easy storage/retrieval of sample vials after processing, making way for STD reflex testing. 

ThinPrep 3000 Processor

Automated IHC system
The new generation of the Lab Vision Autostainers utilizes a two-dimensional, data-matrix bar coding reader ensuring that the correct reagents are applied to their corresponding slides. The new range offers three different sized instruments, capable of handling 36, 48, and 72 slides respectively. Features include advanced timer function providing true walk-away overnight operation, open and flexible operating systems with user-specific barcodes, modular configuration facilitating PC control of up to four instruments, visual and printed quality-control reports on reagent volumes/lot numbers/expiration dates, and an optional pre-treatment module for simultaneous dewaxing and epitope unmasking.

Autostainer 360-2D
Vision Corp.

Five modules one computer
Automating the entire staining process of dewaxing through to immunohistochemistry, ISH, and/or counterstaining, the Bond-X and Bond-maX systems feature innovative covertile technology, ensuring superior staining quality and reproducibility while protecting the integrity of the tissue. Capable of processing up to 3 x 10 slide batches per module, the systems have the ability to run multiple protocols per batch and start each batch at different times or simultaneously. Other features include slide and vial reagent bar coding to minimze the potential for error and a sophisticated reagent management system that allows reagent inventory to be managed both onboard and while in storage. 

Bond-X/Bond-maX systems

Vision BioSystems Inc.

Standardized urinalysis
Designed specifically for standardized urinalysis in the laboratory, the KOVA Glasstic Slide 10 is an optically clear plastic, 10-chambered slide that is available with or without a cell-counting grid. Minimizing exposure to biohazardous samples, these break-resistant, disposable slides are ideally suited for the microscopic examination of urine and other body fluids, providing consistent reproducible results.

Kova Glasstic Slide 10

Hycor Biomedical Inc.

  The Product Focus for March is Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) and April is Immunodiagnostic Products. Send product information to [email protected] for possible inclusion in those sections. Deadlines are Jan. 2 for the March issue and Feb. 2 for the April issue. January
2004: Vol. 36, No. 1
2004 Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.