Thermo Fisher Scientific Ensures Quality Tissue Cutting for Human Protein Atlas Project

Thermo Scientific HM355S Automated Microtome Enables High-Quality Sectioning for TMA Production

RUNCORN, England - (7th March 2012) - Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, today announced that the Human Protein Atlas Project ( is using its Thermo Scientific HM355S automated microtome and Section Transfer System to create high-quality tissue sections during tissue microarray (TMA) production. As part of the project, and as an external TMA production service, Uppsala-based Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) tissue profiling group has cut more than 200,000 slides from over 1400 TMAs to date. To achieve this, SciLifeLab required a versatile microtome that would accommodate a variety of tissue types with a choice of manual and mechanised cutting. The HM355S met these needs.

When sectioning TMAs, the greatest risk of valuable tissue loss or damage can occur during transfer to a water bath. For this reason, the SciLifeLab group uses the automated Section Transfer System alongside the HM355S to eliminate such risks. This "waterfall" system stretches sample ribbons as they are cut and simultaneously transports them safely from the blade into the integrated circulating laminar flow bath. From here, sections can be readily mounted onto glass slides.

The actual composition of a tissue array can also cause complications when sectioning. An example is cancer tissues, which are generally homogenous where normal tissues have greater heterogeneity.

"To overcome issues with mixed tissue composition, our experts group tissues into those with similar texture and hardness when sectioning to make set-up easier and improve workflow," explained Dr. Caroline Kampf, SciLifeLab and HPA site director. "The HM355S microtome gives us the high-quality, reproducible sections that we need for analysing the TMA's. The different cutting modes provide greater control over section generation, which is especially useful when sectioning a range of specimens of differing consistency."

A further sectioning consideration at SciLifeLab Uppsala is the fact that the TMAs are paraffin embedded. Consequently, the Thermo Scientific Cool Cut peltier-cooled attachment is used on the group's microtomes to prolong the cutting period by maintaining a cool block temperature. By using such a cooling tool, 50 TMA sections can be cut consecutively in 50 minutes without the need to remove and re-cool the block on ice. This ensures effective throughput and efficient laboratory operation.

"Due to the enormity of profiling the human proteome, our team holds a great deal of practical experience in TMA production for the HPA and, in fact, we now offer an external TMA production, sectioning and scanning service," continued Caroline Kampf. "Consequently, our experts handle many different types and combinations of tissues for which safe, efficient and high-quality sectioning provided by the Thermo Scientific HM355S and associated attachments are fundamental to our high-throughput, high-quality TMA production."

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About Science for Life Laboratory Tissue Profiling Group
As part of the SciLifeLab effort in Uppsala, the tissue profiling facility can provide services for external research groups. The tissue profiling group is focused on histopathology with special emphasis on tissue microarray (TMA) production, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and slide scanning.
The tissue profiling facility has constructed over 1400 TMAs containing over 100,000 tissue cores, 180 cell microarrays (CMAs) containing over 23 800 cell cores, stained over 200 000 slides for immunohistochemistry and scanned over 100,000 slides over the last 7 years. This effort has been performed as part of the Human Protein Atlas project. The Human Protein Atlas project, funded by the KAW research foundation, aims to generate validated antibodies towards the human proteome and to use these antibodies for protein profiling of normal human tissues, cancer and cell lines. Visit

About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. With revenues of $12 billion, we have approximately 39,000 employees and serve customers within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic labs, universities, research institutions and government agencies, as well as in environmental and process control industries. We create value for our key stakeholders through three premier brands, Thermo Scientific, Fisher Scientific and Unity(TM) Lab Services, which offer a unique combination of innovative technologies, convenient purchasing options and a single solution for laboratory operations management. Our products and services help our customers solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity. Visit

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