Tissue Microarray Technology
Tissue microarrays (TMAs) consist of paraffin blocks in which up to 1000 separate tissue cores are
assembled in array fashion to allow simultaneous histological analysis. The major limitations in molecular
clinical analysis of tissues include the cumbersome nature of procedures, limited availability of diagnostic
reagents and limited patient sample size. The tissue microarray technology was developed to address these
Multi-tissue blocks were first introduced by H. Battifora in 1986 with the so called “multitumor (sausage)
tissue block”. In 1998 J. Kononen and collaborators developed the current technique which uses a novel
sampling approach to produce tissues of regular size and shape that can be more densely and precisely arrayed.
In the tissue microarray technique, a hollow needle is used to remove tissue cores as
small as 0.6 mm in diameter from regions of interest in paraffin embedded specimens
such as clinical biopsies or tumor samples. These tissue cores are then inserted in a
recipient paraffin block in a precisely spaced, array pattern. Tissue fragments from the
newly made block are then sliced using a microtome, mounted on a
microscope slide and analyzed using well standardized histological
The most commonly microarray block can be sliced into 100 – 500 sections, which can be subjected to
independent tests. Tests commonly employed in tissue microarray include immunohistochemistry and
fluorescent in situ hybridization. Tissue microarrays are particularly useful in analysing cancer samples.
Galileo TMA CK3000/3500 unique features
- Robust and reliable construction:
A high resolution digital camera (up to 2080×1542 pixels, 48X magnification with a 17” display) makes the punch area identification on the donor block easier; the operator looks at the images of the donor block and of the pre-marked reference slide on the monitor of its Personal Computer. The Digital Camera allows saving the images of the slides and of the paraffin blocks on the computer HD, for later use during virtual alignment in the punch area selection and in
An Automated needle positioning, computer guided, helps the operator to construct the array, avoiding errors that could endanger the TMA quality and speeds up the process. (only on CK 3500)
An up-to-6 block automated tray, computer assisted, ensures precise positioning of the paraffin blocks under theneedles in the operation conditions.
A 1-block manual tray allows fast needle positioning for homogeneous paraffin donor blocks and for TMA block
A LED back-light and reflected illumination of the paraffin blocks as well as of the glass slides improves the quality of the images.
- Easy to use TMA dedicated software (IseTMA):
The IseTMA software assists the pathologist and the technician in all the operating phases.
A Template Editing phase. A library of TMA templates can be defined; these templates can be re-called and re-used many times for various projects. The created templates can be directly checked on the paraffin block. Spacing rows or columns can be added to separate different tissues in order to facilitate the reading of the array.
A Design phase. Each donor block is associated to one spot or multiple spots of the TMA. Up to 6 replicas of the TMA block can be defined. The pathologist has the possibility to work remotely from the instrument.
A Construction phase. The software assists the operator to complete the TMA construction. An operating flowchart guides the operator in each step. A dedicated function helps the operator in the identification of the punch areas. Two different alignment procedures are possible: a manual one in which the glass slide is manually overlappad on the paraffin block and the digital one where a digital image of the pre-marked glass slide is used.
A Reporting phase. An Excel spread-sheet digital report can be created. Each spot on the array is properly identified every moment of the analysis. Various information (for example: clinic and pathological data referred to the donor blocks), images captured during the previous phases and also the results of the analysis can be added to have a complete management of the array.
Punch area selection: Manual overlapping
Align the pre-marked glass slide with the donor block by looking at the monitor
Once aligned, save the punch positions using a joystick
The IseTMA software
Create the geometry of the array and define the needle diameter, the number of spots and the spacing or the pitch between the spots
Introduce rows or columns of spacing to separate the various specimens
Automatically centre the array in the recipient block
Check the template directly on the recipient block
Define a library of TMA templates to re-call and re-use for diverse TMA projects
Associate each donor block to one or multiple spots of the TMA
Create a folder for each donor block to store all the related information
Associate to each spot a colour code to better read the array
Define the number of replicas of the created TMA. Up to 6 replicas can be performed.
Perform all these operations remotely from the arrayer
Follow the flow to proceed in the TMA construction. It guides you in every step.
Save all the punch positions for each donor block at the same time. During the sampling they’ll be reached automatically.
Move from one step to the next simply by clicking on the mouse. All the paraffin
block movements are automatic
Create the final report of the array on an Excel spread-sheet. Each spot is properly identified during subsequent analysis
Relate each spot to the corresponding information
Personalize the report adding the results of the analysis
Punch area selection: Digital overlapping
Overlap the digitalized pre-marked glass slide to the live block image
Modify the transparency of the digitalized slide to better see the donor block morphology
Align the images rotating the camera and using specific commands
Once aligned, save the punch position simply clicking the mouse
Prior Scientific ES 111 Optiscan Upright Stage
! Resolution: 1ìm
! Repeatibility: 5ìm
! Speed Range: 1ìm/s – 8mm/s
! Drive Mechanism: Zero backlash precision lead screw
Adjustable LED back-light illuminated
4-block holder (horizontal and vertical mounting)
6-block holder (horizontal mounting)
Note: The 4- and the 6-block holder are in alternative
High resolution optics
Jenoptik ProgResTM C10plus camera
! CCD sensor: 3.3 Megapixel SONY
! Pixel size: 3.45 ! 3.45 ìm2
! Digital output: 3 ! 12 bit RGB
! Image Resolution: up to 2080 ! 1542 pixels
48X magnification optic with a 17” display
Manual tray for one paraffin block
Adjustable LED back-light illuminated
Both horizontal and vertical mounting
Automated and computer guided vertical displacement (CK3500)
Automated and computer guided rotation for needle selection(CK3500)
Easy needle mounting
Accurate punching depth regulation
Automated sample insertion depth (CK3500)