Tissue microarray (TMA) technology is generally used in cancer research for recognizing tumors, and for identifying new diagnostics and therapeutics. Using traditional methods, such as manual and semi-automatic arrayer, to construct TMA blocks may result in missing tissue cores on the TMA slide due to weak compactness between cores and paraffin wax. Furthermore, relying on human eyes for manual alignment is not only time-consuming, but may also lead to failure in extracting effective tissue cores. In this study, a fully automatic tissue arrayer and an automated method, which involves pattern matching and coordinate transformation, are developed for reliable and rapid construction of TMA blocks. Results showed that the proposed automatic approach with the self-developed arrayer can avoid missing cores on the TMA section. In addition, comparison of TMA blocks constructed by the proposed automatic approach and the traditional human-based method revealed that the self-developed automatic tissue arrayer not only can achieve reliable alignment accuracy but also requires much shorter construction time.
Key words: Tissue microarray technology, tissue specimen, tissue block, pattern matching, coordinate transformation, alignment accuracy.
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