RE: Immuno problems and alternative fixatives

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From:"Saby, Joseph" <> (by way of histonet)
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Wouldn't it be nice if the vendors provided this information?  No fixative
is going to work for every instance.  If the vendors clearly stated the
method of action and limitations of their fixatives and posted a list of
problem antibodies, tissues, etc. it would save many people a LOT of trial
and error.  Although some would consider this a kind of admission of
weakness, such a list in my mind actually makes the specific uses supported
much stronger, much more likely to give me the results I seek.  I guess what
I'm saying is that in many instances, I would like to see scientific vendors
acting more like scientists and less like businessmen.

(A part of me wanted to say snake oil salesmen, but I know that is way out
of line for almost all vendors.  But every time I hear of a proprietary
formula, those words tickle the back of my mind...)

Happy Thanksgiving to all us from the US, and may everyone else have a
smooth week!

Joseph A. Saby, BA HT(ASCP)
Diagnostic Pathology, Pathology & Experimental Toxicology
Parke-Davis/Int. Pharm. Res. Div. Warner-Lambert
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Phone: (734) 622-3631
Fax:     (734) 622-5718

-----Original Message-----
From: Neal Goldstein []
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 1999 6:51 AM
To: HistoNet Server
Subject: Immuno problems and alternative fixatives

My department is considering switching from formalin to Prefer (or
another non-formalin "fixative") because of an ancient ventilation
system and increased specimen volumes. As the director of the immuno
lab, I am concerned that certain antibodies will not work as well in
non-formalin solutions as in formalin. A specific list of "troublesome"
antibodies is not available, and the vendors state that their solution
is superior to formalin (no surprise). However, antibody kits such as
Herceptin (Dako Co) cannot be performed on these non formalin
"fixatives", and several posts by members mention technical

If members could directly E-mail their difficult and problematical
immunohistochemistry experiences with Prefer, or other non formalin
solutions, I will summarize them and re-post the results. A single large
composite e-mail post documenting problem antibodies, technical
difficulties, and solutions would hopefully be helpful to many members.

Detailed e-mails, soap-box lectures, and diatribes are especially

Neal Goldstein, M.D.
William Beaumont Hospital

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