FW: [Histonet] Re: Formaline-free fixative

Dawson, Glen GDawson <@t> dynacaremilwaukee.com
Thu Nov 8 13:47:40 CST 2007

-----Original Message-----
From: Dawson, Glen 
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 1:46 PM
To: 'Robert Richmond'
Subject: RE: [Histonet] Re: Formaline-free fixative


I know I've said this already but I think it merits repeating.  

Rather than looking into formalin alternatives, it would be best if ALL of us concentrated on using formalin wisely and looking for the best ways to deal with any problems that arise from its use.  In today's climate of pushing standardized testing for world-wide, uniform results (which is impossible BTW), those who insist on using fixatives other than formalin are begging for a nightmare and doing a dis-service to their patients.  Without a universal fixative, standardization of results from testing such as IHC is nothing but a pipe dream.  

Also, could you imagine trying to run an IHC reference lab and needing to have appropriate controls fixed in every conceivable fixative out there?  Let's get realistic about this fixation issue because if the first step in histology (fixation) can't be solid, then all of the testing, staining, etc... that comes after is suspect.

If your lab does all of its own testing and would never have to send a block out for a test that is not "in-house", I can see using whatever fixative you want and optimizing every procedure you have to that specific one, but we all know that there will always be an instance where that block could need to be sent out.  

My Opinion,

Glen Dawson
IHC Manager
Milwaukee, WI

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu]On Behalf Of Robert
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 10:08 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Re: Formaline-free fixative

Pierre Chaumat (where are you, Pierre?) asks:

>>Has anyone tested alternative solution to formaline fixation ? Has anyone
switched to a new tissue fixative ? - I would like to share some experience.<<

About the only alternative "fixative" that actually is a fixative is
glyoxal, available under numerous trade names. Its fixative properties
are somewhat different from those of formaldehyde. In particular,
immunostains may require adjustment, and comparison with formaldehyde
fixed tissue from the same case. In the USA, the breast cancer
immunostains are required by the federal govenrment to be done on
formaldehyde fixed tissue.

Do not use any trade-named fixative whose composition is secret.
Sometimes fairly adequate information can be obtained from the
Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), in the USA. Does France require
similar documentation of hazardous materials? If so, what is this
document called, and what is a good Web site to look some of them up?
(I can read French.)

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville, Tennessee

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