TMA-Mate: An open-source modular toolkit for constructing tissue microarrays of arbitrary layouts
Biomedical research and quality control procedures often demand a variety of microscopic analysis of numerous formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples from different individuals of both healthy and diseased regions of interest. Depending on the number of samples to be analyzed, conventional processing of each FFPE block separately can be laborious or impracticable. This effort can be drastically reduced by using tissue microarrays (TMAs). TMAs have a wide range of applications and can be considered as a high-throughput method to process up to hundreds of miniaturized tissue samples simultaneously on a single microscopy slide, in order to reduce labor, costs and sample consumption, and to increase results comparability. Several commercial and self-made solutions to fabricate TMAs with varying degrees of automation are available. However, these solutions may not be suitable for every situation, either due to high costs, high complexity, lack of precision or lack of flexibility, especially when diagnostically oriented pathology institutes or laboratories with constrained resources are considered. This article introduces the TMA-Mate, an open-source 3D printable modular toolkit for constructing high-density TMAs of arbitrary layouts, providing an affordable, lightweight, and accessible procedure to implement TMAs into existing histology processing pipelines. Step-by-step demonstration for replicating the Hardware and constructing TMAs are included. Files description: * The folder 'TMA_Mate_FCStd' contains the CAD model as a sigle 'FCStd' file created with the standart unmodified distribution of FreeCAD (version 0.20.1, revision number 29410/Git). * The folder 'TMA_Mate_STL' contains Stereolithography files (.stl) for each individual part of the TMA-Mate and the accessories, created with the standart unmodified distribution of FreeCAD (version 0.20.1, revision number 29410/Git). Compressed archive files (.zip) within this folder contain variants of the indicated 3D printed parts. The stereolithography files for modular parts cannot be offered in all possible variations and are limited to a reasonable selection. The Rack (file 9. R_Rack.zip) is the only part that requires print supports and is therefore provided with and without print supports.
Steps to reproduce
The CAD model and the stereolithography files were created using the standard unmodified main distribution of FreeCAD (version 0.20.1, revision number 29410/Git). Build and operation instructions (including print and slicer settings) are detailed in the HardwareX article 'TMA-Mate: An open-source modular toolkit for constructing tissue microarrays of arbitrary layouts' by Nikolaos Pazaitis and Alexandra Kaiser. If you use any of these files, we kindly ask that you cite our HardwareX article.