Contract research company, EpiStem have announced the successful installation of an automated imaging system that now enables the firm to expand the range and throughput of its services in immunohistochemistry (IHC) and histometric analysis.
Applied Imaging's Ariol SL-50 allows EpiStem to reduce the time required to perform standard IHC experiments, while expanding the scope of the data that the company can collect and analyse.
It is a high throughput automated image analysis system for the quantification of biomarkers on microscope slides in research, clinical, pharmaceutical, genomic, and proteomic applications.
Capable of both brightfield and fluorescent imaging, it scans and quantitates IHC, FISH, Immunofluorescence, Micrometastasis, Angiogenesis, DNA Ploidy, and Tissue Micro Array slides.
Ariol is FDA cleared for in vitro diagnostic use of HER-2/neu, ER, and PR IHC and the detection of micrometastases in bone marrow.
The system has key implications on a variety of applications in histology and pathology, including the identification of disease biomarkers, the study of gene expression at the cellular level, predicting disease prognosis, personalizing medicine, and rare event detection
"Automating image analysis is key to the optimisation of productivity, accuracy, and objectivity in molecular pathology," said Simon Smith, director of Commercial Operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa for Applied Imaging.
"The Ariol system was developed for these purposes with each of the platform's imaging algorithms developed for a particular type of IHC protocol or FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridisation) technique," he added.
The IHC protocol and FISH technique are supported by trainable classifier that enables users to habituate the system to individual lab techniques, accommodating day-to-day run variations and methodology.
Combined with EpiStem's knowledge of epithelial tissue behaviour, this increases the range of assays the company can provide to its pre-clinical research clients as well as their ability to identify new targets for epithelial disease therapy.
What sets the system apart from its peers is its modularity and flexibility. While comparative systems tend to be closed-box units, the Ariol platform is interactive, allowing the manipulation of software to measure specific targets.
"We've already carried out one pre-clinical trial study on skin tissue, labelling samples with four different markers, each of which was simultaneously measured and analysed by the Ariol software," commented Cath Booth, founder of EpiStem , and managing director of Contract Services.
"We also intend to use the Ariol system for objective histometric analysis of samples taken from inflammatory disease and mucositis models."
The system significantly improves on the old method still employed by some companies that forces researchers to use separate image analysis systems to perform IHC and histometric studies.
The new platform combines these capabilities in a unified system, and provides capabilities to distinguish between nuclear, cytoplasmic, and membrane staining.
In other words the Ariol software is performing two of the core tasks at once, while simultaneously opening new avenues of research with epithelial stem cells.
Robin Stracey, CEO of Applied Imaging, said: "We are encouraged by the system's positive impact on the scope of data collected and the time savings experienced at Epistem."
"In the future, we plan to pursue additional installations with current and new customers."