RE: Automation of Special Stains

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From:"Colbert, Laurie" <>
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In the past we used the Leica Autostainer to do some special stains.  This
worked well, but large amounts of reagent were needed to fill the slide
buckets on the stainer and the number of stains that could be performed at
one time was limited.

We now have two Cytologix stainers in our lab.  One was purchased and one is
on loan until Cytologix can improve on the turn-around time.  The stains are
really nice on this stainer, but there are a  few problems with consistency.
The stainer can accommodate 48 slides at one time, but, as I mentioned
earlier, the turn-around time is not good when you have multiple stains or
multiple slides (more that 3 or 4) slides of one stain.  What is really nice
is that we can run stains overnight and they are ready to hand out first
thing in the morning.  So this aspect has improved our turn-around time.

Cytologix is aware of the problems with their stainer, and they are very
receptive to any issue or problem we have had.  I think this is going to be
a really great stainer down the line when some of the bugs have been worked
out.  For now, we will continue work around the problems, and the stainer
really has saved us several times when we were short on people.  And I have
to emphasize that their customer service has been good.

I may be opening a can of worms here, but I have a question in regards to
automation of stains.  I feel there is no real quality control on the
stainers that stain one slide at a time (vs. batch staining as on the Leica
Autostainer).  Sure, your control may be positive, but how do you know the
patient slide was stained properly when it is stained independent of the
control slide?  We have had our control slide come out negative, but our
patient was positive, so who's to say that this couldn't  happen the other
way around???

Laurie Colbert
Saint Joseph Medical Center
Burbank, CA

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