Histopath Tissue Block Sorting Module

Project number: 
Roche Tissue Diagnostics
Academic year: 
Ventana Medical Systems, a Roche company, develops and manufactures various automated instruments, which are used worldwide to diagnose a variety of disease states, primarily cancer. Tissue blocks are patient biopsies embedded in wax and mounted in a specialized container. These blocks, created early in the workflow, are an essential part of the Pathology lab process.

Sorting, loading, and transporting these tissue blocks for downstream processing is time-consuming. Histotechs have expressed a desire to be able to drop tissue blocks off at an instrument so that it can sort them and store the blocks until they are ready to be processed at other stations. An automated input module to orient and store tissue blocks can free up histotechs for more technical work that delivers higher patient value.

The goal for this project is to design an instrument module that allows a user to drop off tissue blocks into the module’s input “drop bin” in any orientation. The system will then orient the tissue blocks in a consistent manner and place the blocks into a small output queue. This module will be a sub-module used on an existing larger instrument. The module will have I/O and power connections consistent with other modules used on the larger instrument (specifications and components for these provided by Ventana). The module will also have a compatible mounting interface with the parent system (specifications also provided by Ventana)..

The final deliverable is a working prototype which must meet predetermined customer requirements and a report must be generated to document how the design meets (or does not meet) the specified requirements in the attached SOW (statement of work).

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