The Proximity Lab
The MRC Molecular Pathology Review published in August 2014 identified the need for a clear path to clinical implementation of novel findings and build capacity in the clinical workforce. The Proximity Lab aims to contribute in fulfilling that need by providing suppport to tissue-based research in the clinical setting of the Cellular Pathology Department at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NUTH). The Department is CPA and ISO15189 accredited and is one of the largest in England located within new purpose built accommodation with state of the art equipment. The Proximity Lab benefits from access to both the excellent facilities within Cellular Pathology but also from the expertise and experience available to provide quality assured preparation and analysis of human tissue.
A dedicated team of experienced HCPC registered Biomedical Scientists and support staff offer knowledge, skills and expertise in tissue processing, paraffin wax embedding, microtomy, frozen tissue handling and cryotomy, single and multiplex immunohistochemistry and antibody optimisations, immunofluorescence, in-situ hybridisation including RNAscope and DNA extraction.
Tissue microarray construction
Tissue microarrays (TMAs) allow the testing of many patient samples simultaneously. The technique is particularly useful for studies with large numbers of tissue samples and where precious tissue samples need to be conserved for future work. TMAs are typically used in immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization investigations and are cost effective as they reduce the amount of reagents required to generate the requisite data.
Automated tissue microarray machines allow construction of high quality TMAs through accurate digital mapping of donor and recipient blocks. The Proximity Lab has an automated tissue microarray platform called TMA Grand Master, 3DHISTECH. The Proximity Lab Scientists can offer advice on TMA construction and have the skills to manufacturer the highest quality TMAs from your tissue blocks.
The ZEISS laser capture microdissection microscope can be used to precisely harvest tissue elements and cells from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections and frozen sections. Nucleic acids and proteins can be extracted from the dissected tissue and used in downstream molecular assays. The Proximity Lab Scientists are available to provide advice on the suitability of your tissue for laser capture microdissection and training in microdissection techniques.
The Ventana Discovery Ultra is an instrument that can be used to develop bespoke automated tissue assays. The autostainer is an ‘open platform’ allowing researchers to use reagents from a variety of suppliers. Protocols are available for immunofluorescence, chromogenic immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation, including RNAscope Advanced Cell Diagnostics. The instrument is particularly useful for building multiplex assays for subsequent analysis on the Perkin Elmer Vectra Automated Quantitative Pathology Imaging System. The Proximity Lab Scientists have the expertise to optimise staining procedures and can offer advice on designing validation and verification experiments.
Vectra is a state of the art tissue image analysis system. The system comprises a camera, an automated microscope, a 200 capacity slide loader, Vectra software for controlling the microscope, inForm software for image acquisition and analysis.
The platform provides basic and advanced slide scanning and image analysis requirements from single marker quantitation on whole sections or TMAs to combined morphological and multiplex marker analysis of cells in tissues. The software generates flow cytometry-like data and allow spatial analysis of tissue elements. Advanced tissue segmentation software allow the system to be trained to recognize features of interest based on morphology and/or marker staining.
This facility attracts considerable interest from Biotechnology Industries.
How do you apply for support?
If you would like to apply for support from the Proximity Lab for your project, please complete the attached form below and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also find in the attachment below an example of the type of information that we would expect to be included in your application.
Alternatively if you require standard technical work to be completed by Cellular Pathology, please completed the attached form below and send it to the same email address.
If you need additional support for your application, Claire Jones the Proximity Laboratory Manager will be able to meet with you during her weekly clinics (currently every Tuesday from 1.30-4pm) to provide guidance. Please contact email@example.com to book an appointment.