Frontiers, Not Boundaries

Histology and Microphysiological systems (MPS)

3rd August 2022

In vitro 3D models are increasingly integral to drug discovery and drug development programs with many commercial safety and efficacy applications available . In addition, with high content confocal imaging and automated image analysis protocols, it is now possible  to assay every cell within a microtissue for a single biomarker.

Systematic histology with 3D microtissues however has remained challenging with the default methodology  the production of an agarose plug of pooled spheroids which is then wax embedded and sectioned, an inefficient approach which does not allow for side by side comparison of treatment groups.

As pathology reviews are integral to both drug discovery and drug development programs, the absence of  images of the cellular structure of the tissues can lead to a disconnect  between biochemical and high content imaging data and confidence amongst the pathology/clinical members of the drug development team.

SpheroMatrices®microTMA  is a patented high-throughput histology platform which aligns  fixed MPS/microtissues from a 96 well plate experiment in the same plane within a microscope slide-sized  microTMA mold, retaining the experimental layout of the plate.  All tissues within the microTMA are wax embedded and simultaneously sectioned into 10-15 parallel sections for downstream analysis by histopathology, immunostaining, and /or transcript profiling.

SpheroMatrices  is a versatile platform allowing for multiple interrogations of a single experiment,  and has the unique capacity to generate  H&E (or other special stain) images  to provide a picture of the structure of each individual tissue using standard brightfield microscopy. These images provide context to other data sets (biochem/biomarker) derived from the same experiment, underpinning  the assumption that the cells within microtissues/MPS  recapitulate the structure and function of their in vivo counterparts,  providing a vital link supporting commercial and regulatory acceptance of these models.

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