Cancer research and tissue diagnostics innovator Lunaphore Technologies, Lausanne, Switzerland, has announced new rapid multiplexing applications for its LabSat Research tissue staining platform.

Under a comarketing agreement with Akoya Biosciences, Menlo Park, Calif, Lunaphore will offer multiplexing protocols for the LabSat Research staining platform, using Akoya’s Opal immunoassay kits.

LabSat Research is a single-slide, ultrarapid reagent delivery system for performing immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluoresence (IF) staining of tissue samples for research use. The breakthrough speed of the device is achieved using a novel microfluidic tissue processor, which lies at the core of Lunaphore’s innovation. The company’s patented technology enables high-precision tissue staining, with a significant reduction in reagent incubation times.

IHC staining is a technique that involves the use of antibodies to detect the presence of specific cancer biomarkers in a tissue sample. During an IHC test, the tissue is stained with labeled antibodies, producing a coloring on the tissue that is observable with a brightfield microscope. This coloring or staining will signal the presence and localization of specific cancer biomarkers within the tissue. IF is a similar technique that instead produces fluorescent staining observable with a fluorescence microscope. IHC and IF are among the most common tests performed in immunooncology research to support scientists in the identification of specific cancer types.

In order to analyze the tumor microenvironment, understanding the spatial organization and coexpression of multiple biomarkers in a tissue section is of key importance. With this purpose, it is possible to stain and visualize several targets simultaneously with a technique known as multiplexed IHC or IF. Akoya’s Opal 4- and 7-color fluorescent kits can simultaneously stain tissue specimens for 3 and 6 biomarkers, respectively, in order to maximize the information from each tissue section.

Using the Opal 4-color manual IHC kit, LabSat can complete 3-plex staining plus counterstaining of tissue samples in less than 2.5 hours. With the Opal 7-color manual IHC kit, LabSat can complete 6-plex staining plus counterstaining of tissue samples in less than 4.5 hours. These timeframes represent a significant reduction over current turnaround times for the Opal 7-color kit using manual protocols or other automation standards.

LabSat’s short turnaround times are achieved through the system’s microfluidic tissue processor, which enables researchers to perform rapid cycles of optimization in order to reach and repeat the desired multiplexed staining levels, without the need to invest in traditional workflow automation instruments.

Using the Opal kits, developers observed comparable intensity to other staining methods, while reproducibility issues represented less than 20% of variability. Moreover, uniformity throughout the tissue section was tested with excellent results, obtaining a signal gradient of less than 10% over 1 cm of tissue. Such performance opens the opportunity for users to analyze images and quantify signals using Akoya’s imaging and software tools.

“The great stainings obtained with our platform are the result of a team effort by Lunaphore and Akoya, as we push both of our technologies to the next level,” says Diego G. Dupouy, cofounder and chief technology officer of Lunaphore. “Our goal is to combine short turnaround times with high-quality stainings in order to enable researchers to develop their own immunophenotyping panels in unprecedented times.”

For further information, visit Lunaphore Technologies.

Featured image: Six-plex immunofluorescent staining of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue from a tonsil specimen, with 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) nuclear counterstaining. Microphotograph courtesy Lunaphore Technologies.