The updated software, TMALab II, now allows researchers to analyse and manage hundreds of TMA samples from anywhere they can access the server. This will make it easier for researchers working in pharmaceutical companies to collaborate on drug and biomarker discovery programs. TMAs were first described in 1998 and represent a significant advancement in molecular pathology, allowing researchers to rapidly identify and characterise molecular targets in hundreds or thousands of tissue samples, accelerating the identification of molecular pathways involved in disease progression. With the pharmaceutical industry constantly looking to increase efficiency and reduce the time it takes to discover and study new drugs, tissue microarrays ae becoming more and more commonplace. An experiment using TMAs can involve using various stains, which provide information on molecular and protein characteristics, to find molecular variations in diseased or cancerous cells. However, one bottleneck still exists in the analysis of the slides, with many researchers still studying the slides by eye rather than using computers to analyse them. Aperio's ScanScope instrument scans the TMAs allowing the images to be stored electronically and enables automated analysis and scoring of the samples. According to Peter Rogan, Aperio's european sales director, this dramatically reduces the amount of time spent on the cumbersome manual tasks involved with the processing of the hundreds of tissue cores studied in histopathology laboratories, allowing researchers to work on bigger, more statistically significant sample sets. Because the TMALab II software is web-based it allows researchers located all over the world to access the images and any associated data linked to the images. This will increase the efficiency of large TMA projects and increase the usefulness of the samples as they can be viewed in relation to many different studies. According to Rogan previous versions of the software are in use in eight of the twenty largest pharmaceutical companies with close to three hundred systems installed across 22 countries. Earlier this year the company completed a $10.6m (€7.75m) financing round to help expand its sales, marketing and operations efforts as well as to develop new products.
Aperio has released a new software tool that not only speeds up the analysis of tissue microarray (TMA) images but also allows researchers to access images remotely.