Customer Comments and email answers:
"We have been very pleased with the products and services from Thom Jensen at Arraymold. We purchased two different sized molds, and have recently made nearly 20 TMAs using the 60-core mold, from archival prostate tissues. We have found the Arraymold systems easy to use, reliable, relatively inexpensive, and faster and easier than using the old, original Beecher instrument that we have in the lab. The YouTube step-by-step videos that Thom links to on his website were invaluable, easy to follow, and sufficiently detailed to be very helpful. Thom is also an excellent resource, easy to talk to about techniques and details, and very friendly and honest. We made a few practice molds/TMAs and tweaked the protocol a bit to fit our equipment and tissue blocks (we use Paraffin R and we use an incubator instead of the oven that Thom uses)."
We switched to a new IHC platform and we were required to validate 175 antibodies. Each validation process requires 20 or more individual tissue slides. That means 4,375 slides would be needed for validation. We decided to use Tissue Microarrays instead of the traditional method of staining individual slides. We used the 3mm and the 3.5mm Arraymold Kits for our TMA construction. Our cost for antibodies, IHC supplies, tech time and materials cost $4,325.75 and our overall cost saving will be approximately, $104,478.50 using Tissue Microarrays for optimization instead of the individual slide method.
Here is our break down:
Arraymold TMAs with 175 slides x $24.87 per slide (Includes antibodies, supplies, etc) = $4,325.75
4,375 tissue slides x $24.87 per slide (Includes antibodies, supplies, etc) = $108,806.25
Arraymold cost saving: $104,478.50
Thank you Arraymold.
EM Lab / Immuno Histochemistry Supervisor
I finally be able to lay my hand on the mold. It makes my life so much easier that I can quickly construct a TMA block and get a section with in 3 hours. I am not that patient but did create a 35x 3mm TMA and the sections pretty good.
I am very happy with the product and your videos very informative !
I can't wait to construct more blocks to get on with our validation !
Thanks for reaching out to us regarding TMA information.
Here are the answers you requested:
· What are the advantages/disadvantages of the ones on the market now?
There are three main types of TMA instruments. Automated, Manual, and Silicone molds
Automated are very expensive ($100K+) software and sometimes microscope are included to mark an area of the slide and the machine automatically punches the selected area. There is more to it than that but that's the basics. I only know of a few large laboratories that have one of these instruments. Mostly they remove the learning curve associated with TMA construction so TMAs are consistent each time.
Manual TMA Instruments (First one the market) costs around $15K-ish and go up from there. Similar to the automated TMA instruments in that it uses X-Y type adjustments to move the needles to the location you would like to punch. Usually use two needles (which can be expensive to replace after each TMA block is constructed). One needle to punch a blank paraffin donor block and the other needle to punch the tissue and then insert the core into the donor block hole. The main problem people have with these instrument is that it takes a lot of hand eye coordination to achieve good results. And from my experience if you don't do it often, you have to re-learn the techniques again. This is the type of instrument I used for the first 10 years I created TMAs.
Silicone Mold TMA Instruments This instrument is often under $1K for a single mold Kit. Extra dermal needles can cost around 1 to 2 dollars each. Some systems require an expensive specially designed needle. I prefer the dermal needle type system. I found the silicone mold TMAs can do just about anything the other TMA instrument can do. You can also do frozen TMAs (Cryo-Arrays) with the silicone molds because you can freeze the mold in a cryostat to create a donor block out of OCT. All of this for a fraction of the cost of the other instruments. Plus it doesn't take up valuable counter space when not in use. Very simple to use and store away.
I met the gentleman who invented the first manual TMA instrument at a NSH meeting many ears ago (The Beecher Instrument now called the MTA 1 under a new company). He is an engineer and not a histologist. I always felt that the original manual TMA instrument was over engineered for its purpose. My first two publications were with this original TMA instrument. I even developed a warming platform to help punch the donor blocks which he didn't think of at the time.
· We use the Leica Apex slides for our IHC cases, which allows for the control tissue to be placed at the top of the slide, so the TMA section would have to fit in that small box. What size would you recommend?
Yes a TMA tissue group will fit under these special slides. Often when optimizing antibodies laboratories will use a known positive control at the top of the TMA tissues.
· How long do the TMA molds last? What about the actual tool, how easy is cleaning/maintenance?
I have used the same 2mm (60 core) silicone mold (from Arraymold) for over seven years. I have created around 75 TMAs with it. I do not clean the silicone mold. They can be stored with paraffin on them. Using xylene to clean them can cause the silicone to deteriorate. Store in a dark area away from direct sunlight. The inexpensive dermal needles are very cost effective even if you have to use more than one to construct a TMA. It take very little technical expertises to construct a TMA using the silicone mold system. Arraymold.com has many instructional videos to help technicians to learn the process quickly.
If you have any more questions please reach out again.