[Histonet] Equipment purchases responses

Hugh Luk hlukey <@t> msn.com
Thu Oct 7 21:41:34 CDT 2010

Hi Karen,

I am in a the same "Research" situation as you.  If you are sure that all you will need is small (<100) tissue cassette processings, the Leica TP1020 should suffice.  We call them "Dip-and-Dunks", as the tissue carousels from bucket to bucket.  It is economical on reagents and is easy to use.  Plan on 12+ hour processing runs for tissue with fat.  Get the extra paraffin bucket (3) if you can.  It is not a necessity for the routine processing run, but it is 'Handy' to have.

However for fatty tissues like breast, the tissue processing is superior in vacuum infiltration units like the Leica ASP300S or a Tissue Tek VIP series.  If you have the money, I recommend one of these.  Both are work-horses and will give you practically no trouble.  However, you will hear new terms like "Warm Water Flush", "Clean the Retort", and "Annual preventive maintenance."  You will also triple your "Waste" reagents compared to the TP1020.

I have a Leica ASP300.  It was a refurbished unit, which I regret every so often, but it was necessary to procure due to money and time.  Mostly money.  It has saved my bu** more often than not.  I can offer some recommendations for vendors like this if you wish.  I also have access to the TP1020, ASP300S, Peloris, and the Tissue Teks 300, 5, and 6.  

I prefer the Tissue Tek 6, but all units have worked well for me.

I have read other recommendations for the Leica Peloris or some variety of microwave tissue processor.  These processors are absolutely fantastic and fast, but I have the same red-flags as you with RNA/DNA damage.    No microwaves.  The Peloris, in theory, will not cause further RNA/DNA damage, but it is advertised as "Faster Than Microwaves," so I would use caution pursuing this model until someone documents what it is doing to the nucleotides.  Also, the Peloris is more expensive and it's 600 block capacity is too big for my (your?) needs.

As for your portable fume hood and pH meter.  pH meters range from cheap to super-expensive.  The pocket version is cheap but falls into disrepair quickly.  The bench-top models, requiring pH "Standard" calibrations and probe care, are great, but a pain to maintain and expensive to buy.   You need to define what you need it for.  Translational Pathology?  Perhaps you can borrow?  It seems to be a waste to have an expensive pH meter if (for example) you only measure buffers once a week.  We have a Checkmate from Cardinal scientific, but I think this model has been discontinued.

 Fume hood; If you cannot get your facilities folks to put a real hood in, try Labconco or Thermo.  Get one that can be used as a "Laminar Flow" (air filter parallel to desk), as formalin and xylene fumes lay close to the desk-top.  There are lots of brands with different kinds and sizes of hoods.  I believe that filtered hoods are not very efficient at cleaning the air of formalin (potassium permanganate filter) or xylene (carbon), simply because there is not enough air exchange.   An example of our 36"x24"x30" self contained hood is in the link below:

Hope this helps,


Pathology shared resource lab manager

1236 Lauhala street, 
Honolulu, HI 96813

> Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2010 13:00:47 -0500
> From: kcruise <@t> path.wustl.edu
> To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
> Subject: [Histonet] Equipment purchases responses
> Thanks so much for your quick responses .Let me elaborate on my specific needs. We are a research lab that deals mainly with breast tissue. I have been led to believe that microwave processing may not be the way to go because of our specimens are  being used for RNA and DNA studies. A quick turn around time is not a concern of ours since we process and hold specimens for future use based upon requests throughout the US. Our main concern is not purchasing more processor than what we need since we only process maybe 5-10 cassettes per week.
> Thanks again,
> Karen
> Karen E. Cruise
> Histologist / Research Technician II
> Washington University School of Medicine
> Laboratory for Translational Pathology
> 216 S. Kingshighway Rm #2332
> St Louis, MO 63110
> 314-454-8636 Office
> 314-454-5525 Fax
> kcruise <@t> path.wustl.edu
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