FFPE as a sample type has always been a valuable resource for diagnosis and confirmation, but it’s sample prep for NAP and subsequent analysis is gated behind lengthy procedures for removing the paraffin cask. Typically this is achieved either by lengthy mineral oil bath or Xylene (flammable, organic solvent, nasty stuff), neither of which can automated without concerns. I work for a company operating solely in the NAP space, and ran into quite a few folks at AMP conference recently who were frustrated by the lack of automation during this deparaffinization step. Most scientists wanted the hands-free convenience of automation, but didn’t expect the solution to be 4-12 hours in hot mineral oil that would be ridiculous to slap into their existing liquid handlers.
One method that’s been interesting is acoustic devices from companies like Covaris or Diagenode that can reduce the procedure down to 15 minutes, albeit requiring consolations in the protocol such as special buffers and glass labware. The instruments are expensive; and as such there’s not much I can find from my supporting cast on how well these instruments integrate into your Hamiltons or Tecans in the labspace. Does anyone have any experience with these instruments or how a workflow looks and if full integration is possible? I imagine that the biggest hurdle would be your reagent space, and having to work with glass labware, but I’m interested in hearing what y’all think.