The products include continuous processing, Covertile technology, and reagents such as Compact Polymer detection systems.

New York City’s Beth Israel Medical Center, part of Continuum Health Partners (including St Luke’s Roosevelt hospital) and New York Presbyterian Hospital, use three Vision BioSystems™ Bond™ Automated Immunohistochemistry and In Situ Hybridization Systems. Violette Ghali, MD, director of the Beth Israel Medical Center Immunopathology Lab, calls the Bond system “a pathologist’s dream.”

The Bond system, which stains various elements to determine the presence of irregularities, features continuous processing, Covertile™ technology, and reagents such as Compact Polymer™ detection systems. Matthew Hoskin, Vision BioSystems marketing director, says Bond-x™ is a flexible immunohistochemistry (IHC) staining system. Bond-max™ adds walk-away capability through onboard dewaxing and epitope retrieval, as well as in situ hybridization (ISH).

Ghali explains that the system’s use comes in detecting tumor markers, viruses, and other prognostic indicators. Samples tested include tissue sections from humans (animal tissue can also be tested), needle aspirations, pap smears, suspensions from blood, etc. The Bond system is a machine that processes slides with patient tissues, blood samples, etc, using different antibodies to stain the samples. The end result is used by pathologists to form diagnoses.

Gali says the lab runs panels depending upon the need of the pathology test. “By staining, we can figure out whether a tumor is more or less aggressive, and the pathologist interprets the results that the Bond system provides. Then it’s up to an oncologist to make a decision about how to treat the patient based on the pathologist’s report. The process involves target antigens,” she says.

According to Ghali, one of the Bond system’s advantages is that the lab can preprogram optical character recognition (OCR) labels into the system for specific antigens, print the appropriate OCR label, and affix it to the slide. The machine then chooses the correct protocol to use for staining based on the label information. “It’s all automated,” she says, meaning all the lab has to do is prepare the slide.

Before, it was a laborious process. “We used to boil tissues in pressure cookers or microwave them in order to retrieve the right antigen, in a kitchen-like setting. Now, the OCR label method used with the Bond system eliminates much human error,” Ghali says.

Ghali’s lab has had the Bond system for nearly a year and a half. She says other systems were tried, but the Bond system has proved to be the most flexible. It has the ability to do random access, and one instrument does the work of three smaller instruments. For instance, it can run three separate sets of 10 slides each, simultaneously. “That feature is unique to the Bond system,” she says. Other systems can run only 20 or 30 at a time, and new slides cannot be added while the run is in progress. Tests can be run overnight, but the extra efficiency and capacity of the Bond system really helps in busy daytime periods. Results can usually be obtained within 21¼2 hours, Ghali says. “Our techs used to be very busy. Now, with this system, after 10 am, they have nothing to do.” She adds that the Beth Israel lab has three of the units but could survive with just two.

The system looks like a box, she says. “It’s a very handsome-looking machine, and it’s small compared with others on the market.”

This has been a dream of any pathologist for years, she says—to have a completely automated, system that provides consistent, high quality end results.

Features of the System
Hoskin says that the Bond system’s covertile technology enables small volumes of reagent (as little as 100 µL per slide) to be uniformly applied over the tissue sections on a slide. Vacuum-controlled flow ensures even dispersal, providing high-quality, reproducible staining. Optimized reagents, including the Bond Polymer Detection System and Novocastra brand primary antibodies, enhance staining quality.

According to the manufacturer, the Bond system offers continuous batch processing, allowing independent start and finish times for each batch of 10 slides as well as different protocols on each of the 30 slides. This facilitates staggered workflow demands and increases laboratory productivity. Hoskin says the Bond system’s reagent tracking and management features onboard liquid-level sensing, which ensures accurate monitoring of reagent inventory and usage, and provides optimized reagent dispensing. Reagent volumes and waste levels are automatically communicated to the operator.

The system allows customers to use human-readable characters on their slide labels; it uses OCR technology and provides functionality and flexibility not achievable with bar-coding technology, Hoskin says. The Bond system is modular; each system has a host computer that can control up to five Bond-x or Bond-max instruments. With each instrument having a 30-slide capacity, a complete Bond system is capable of processing 150 slides. The system can include a combination of Bond-x and Bond-max instruments; and because of its modularity, it can grow with you as your business grows, he adds.

 The Bond system automates IHC and ISH staining (from baking/dewax through to counterstain). It features a continuous processing capability, which means that independent batches of slides may be run concurrently, smoothing out laboratory workflow and allowing stat samples to be processed immediately, Hoskin says.

  The Bond system is the patented Covertile technology with a reusable Covertile sitting over each slide. Tissue-lift (a problem with systems that spray reagent) is eliminated by gentle reagent application, and the Covertiles create a controlled staining cavity (or reaction chamber) that also eliminates tissue dry-out. The Covertiles ensure uniform reagent coverage so all tissue areas are evenly stained.

 Each Bond system processing module has three independent trays, which means runs can start sooner (no need to wait until the entire instrument is full), runs can be staggered so there is a constant stream of completed slides (rather than waiting for one large batch), and there is spare capacity for stat samples that arrive after staining has started.

Finally, Hoskin says, dedicated Bond reagents create the final link to staining. Bond reagents are suited to the Bond processing modules. Examples of harmonized reagents include the Compact Polymer detection systems and the new antibody ready-to-use range. The Compact Polymer detection systems allow laboratories to increase antibody efficiency and thus reduce antibody costs. With the ready-to-use range, the Novocastra™ clones have been prepared specifically for the Bond system.

Gary Tufel is a contributing writer for Clinical Lab Products.
For more information, contact [email protected].