Roche Diagnostics signed a deal with AvanSci Bio to buy all products associated with the high- performance microdissection of slide-mounted tissue sections. The system consists of instrumentation, software, and consumables used by researchers and clinicians to extract specific areas of tissue with high precision and purity for subsequent molecular analysis including real-time PCR, microarrays, and sequencing.

AvanSci Bio's technology includes the automated MilliSect™ instrument which reportedly enables a greater than 90% tumor enriched sample for molecular analysis. The system will be tested at select customer sites in 2015 as part of a broader development program for a future generation instrument.  MilliSect targets a 100mm2 to 100 µm2 level of resolution (what AvanSci refers to as ” meso” dissection range).

“This innovative system will expand our diagnostic tool kit allowing us to link the diagnostic hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain with sequencing analysis through high quality sample preparation,” said Dan Zabrowski, head of Roche Tissue Diagnostics and Sequencing Solutions. “It will also enable us to meet the critical challenge of tumor heterogeneity.”

Tumor tissue staining gives researchers and clinicians important information about both tissue context and spatial relationships and tumor heterogeneity (which stems from the evolution of multiple subclones within the tumor). Information obtained from stained areas enable researchers and clinicians to pinpoint and extract more precise regions of interest within the tissue, resulting in purer samples of sufficient quantity that can then be used for sequencing. In addition, the analytical sensitivity of sequencing improves with higher sample purity as does subsequent data analysis and interpretation.

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