Patent                   No 0030310.7
                             (UK 2001, EU, Japan & USA 2003)
Short title             Episcopic Imaging of Autofluorescence
Formal title           Apparatus and method for imaging a histological sample
Inventor                Dr. W.J. Weninger & Dr. T.J. Mohun
Applicant              Medical Research Council

Short Description

The invention relates to a method for imaging a histological sample, associated apparatus, and an associated method of preparing histological samples.

The method uses fluorescence episcopic imaging of histological specimens to rapidly obtain a series of accurately aligned, high-resolution digital images. These facilitate rapid and accurate analysis of 3D structures either through video reconstruction or modeling procedures. We envisage three broad areas of application. Firstly, it can be applied whenever an accurate analysis of tissue, organ or embryo morphology is required. For example, it can be used for rapid routine screenings of the phenotype of genetically modified embryos, fetuses, and neonates. Secondly, the method enables the detection of the spatially specific staining patterns within the embryo or tissue sample, revealing for example gene expression or protein expression patterns. Thirdly, the data sets are ideal for use in the generation of 3D-models for research, teaching and routine medical diagnostic purposes (e.g. analysis of pathological tissue samples).

The apparatus for image capturing is designed to simplify and automate all steps, which are necessary to obtain episcopically digital images of the tissues on the block surface during sectioning.

Preparation of histological samples is designed to cover the "shining through" effect. We designed a specific embedding medium which blocks light emitted from tissues deep inside the embedding block.