Histology is the microscopic examination of cell tissue samples and is routinely performed in research labs and, more widely, in hospitals for the early detection of diseases (histopathology). Histology is a complex process requiring several steps for the tissue sample preparation. The most demanding and time-consuming step is the microtomy, where the tissue sample, now dehydrated and placed inside a piece of paraffin wax, is cut into slices 4-micrometre thick. This step is further complicated by the fact that the thin slices become wrinkled with the cutting and are normally put on warm water in order to smooth out (the with the aggravated problems of rehydrating the cells and increasing the risk of cross-contamination). Microtomy is a labour-intensive procedure carried out by highly-skilled clinical/scientific staff. A skilled operator can perform up to 80 samples a day, but will cost well over €100,000 p.a. The MicroLean project proposes a low-cost automation of the microtomy process by a contactless manipulation of the samples. The MicroLean system will be retrofittable to existing microtomes.
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Funding SchemeBSG-SME - Research for SMEs