News Column

Patent Issued for Dispenser with Filter Device

August 12, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) has been issued patent number 8790596, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by NewsRx editors (see also Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.).

The patent's inventors are Roper, Philip G. (Tucson, AZ); Talucci, Kevin (Tucson, AZ); Rowland, Shane (Tucson, AZ).

This patent was filed on May 31, 2012 and was published online on July 29, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "The invention relates generally to methods and apparatuses for biological processing systems. More specifically, the invention relates to dispensers with filter devices.

"Automated biological processing systems can process samples for immunostaining and in situ DNA analysis. Immunostaining and in situ DNA analysis are useful tools in histological diagnosis and the study of tissue morphology. Immunostaining relies on the specific binding affinity of antibodies with epitopes in tissue samples, and the increasing availability of antibodies which bind specifically with unique epitopes present only in certain types of diseased cellular tissue, immunostaining involves delivering a series of substances to a tissue section mounted on a glass slide to highlight, by selective staining, certain morphological indicators of disease states. Typical processing steps include pretreatment of the tissue section to reduce non-specific binding, antibody treatment and incubation, enzyme labeled secondary antibody treatment and incubation, substrate reaction with the enzyme to produce a fluorophore or chromophore highlighting areas of the tissue section having epitopes binding with the antibody, counterstaining, and the like. A secondary anti-antibody can bind to the primary antibody that also includes a signal generating moiety such as an enzyme (for example, horseradish peroxidase or alkaline phosphatase) conjugated thereto. A combination of antibody conjugates that specifically bind the primary and the secondary antibodies is applied to the specimen. A DAB regent (e.g., diaminobenzidine (DAB)/hydrogen peroxide solution) is contacted to the specimen and allowed to incubate, during which time enzymes of the secondary antibody conjugate converts the soluble DAB into an insoluble brown precipitate at the sites where the primary antibody is specifically bound. The specimen is washed with buffer, followed by one or more rinses with ethanol, and one or more rinses with limonene to ready the specimen for subsequent processing, such as coverslipping.

"Conventional automated biological processing systems often include dispensers that sequentially deliver fluids onto specimens. The dispensers can selectively dispense predetermined volumes of reagent. If solid particles (e.g., contaminates precipitates, or the like) are present in the fluid held in the dispensers, the solid particles may lead to impaired performance of the dispenser valving which results in improper dispensing. By way of example, if large precipitates form in a stored reagent, the precipitates can prevent complete closing of a valve. Conventional dispensers often hold precipitate forming solutions that tend to contain relative large precipitates (e.g., solid particles with diameters equal to or larger than about 0.01 inch), especially if the dispenser is stored for extended periods of time."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, NewsRx reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "At least sortie biological processing systems include a platform assembly for holding slides and a dispenser assembly with dispensers. The dispensers can be sequentially positioned over specimen-bearing slides to enable dispensing of substances onto the specimens. The dispensers include filter devices for filtering processing substances to deliver substantially precipitate-free filtrate onto the specimens.

"In certain embodiments, one of the dispensers includes a barrel with a main body and a piston. A valve is positioned downstream of a reservoir chamber defined by the main body. The filter device is positioned at the bottom of the reservoir chamber. If solid particles are in the chamber, the filter device can prevent solid particles larger than a threshold size from accessing and clogging fluidic components. The solid particles can be precipitate that separates from a solution or suspension by a chemical or physical change. Additionally or alternatively, the solid particles can be contaminates from the surrounding environment.

"The filtering element includes through-holes with inlets positioned closer to a longitudinal axis of the filter device than an outer periphery of a protective cantilevered member positioned above the filtering element. In certain embodiments, the protective cantilevered member is part of a circular disk shaped portion of the filter device. The protective cantilevered member can also be in the form of an arcuate flange.

"In some embodiments, a biological processing system includes a platform assembly and a dispenser assembly. The platform assembly includes slide holders. The dispenser assembly includes dispensers and is configured to cooperate with the platform assembly to sequentially position the dispensers relative to specimen-bearing slides on the slide holders so as to enable dispensing of substances onto the specimens. One or more of the dispensers includes a filter device capable of filtering a substance to deliver a substantially precipitate-free filtrate through components of the dispenser assembly.

"The substantially precipitate-free filtrate can be a fluid that has solid particles, if any, with an outer diameter smaller than a threshold diameter. In certain embodiments, substantially precipitate-free filtrate is substantially free of all solid particles having an outer diameter larger than about 0.01 inch. Other threshold diameters or dimensions are also possible.

"The filter element can be a longitudinally-extending perforated sidewall. In some embodiments, the perforated sidewall comprises a substantially flat member with a plurality a through-holes. In other embodiments, the perforated sidewall can be curved.

"Dispensers can include a barrel holder and a barrel guided within (e.g., slidably coupled to) the barrel holder. The barrel includes a main body and a piston coupled to the main body. The main body defines a reservoir chamber for holding a fluid to be dispensed. A filtering element of a filter device can be submerged in the fluid and is configured to allow fluids to pass therethrough while substantially blocking precipitates of a threshold size from exiting the barrel. In certain embodiments, the filtering element includes one or more perforated plates, membranes, screens, meshes, or combinations thereof.

"In yet other embodiments, a dispenser includes a barrel, a valve, and a filter device. The barrel includes a main body that defines a reservoir chamber for holding fluid. The valve is positioned downstream of the reservoir chamber. The filter device includes a filtering element that allows fluid in the reservoir chamber to pass through the filter device towards the valve while blocking at least some precipitates, or other solid particles in the fluid. In certain embodiments, the main body and a piston, which is downstream of the filter device, have a one-piece construction. In other embodiments, the main body and piston have a multi-piece construction.

"One or more anti-clogging elements can help keep precipitates from reaching the filtering element in certain embodiments, anti-clogging elements are connected to a hollow main body of the filter device. For example, anti-clogging elements can extend outwardly from the main body a sufficient distance to help keep precipitates from reaching the filtering element.

"In yet further embodiments, a filter device includes a hollow main body defining an outlet port and a filtering element. The filtering element can be configured to substantially block precipitates in a chamber of a reagent dispenser in which the filter device is installed. A filtering element allows reagents to flow through the filtering element, the hollow body, and the outlet port.

"A filtering element, in some embodiments, can include a longitudinally-extending perforated wall extending along the length of a filtering element. In one embodiment, a pair of spaced apart longitudinally-extending perforated sidewalls allow reagent to flow into the hollow main body. The filter device can include one or more particle blockers. An upper particle blocker and a lower particle blocker can protrude outwardly from the main body to define a substantially horizontally flow channel through which fluid is capable of flowing to access the filtering element. The particle blockers can function as anti-clogging features.

"Dispensers with filtering capabilities can be used in different types of equipment capable of conditioning specimens, staining specimens, performing antigen retrieval, performing immunohistochemistry (IHC), and/or performing in situ hybridization (ISH), as well as other processes for preparing specimens for microscopy, micro-analyses, mass spectrometric methods, or the like. The specimens can be in the form of biological samples (e.g., samples of tissue such as sections of an organ, tumor sections, bodily fluids, smears, frozen sections, cytology preparations, or cell lines). Tissue can be any collection of cells mountable on a slide.

"In yet further embodiments, a filter device includes a hollow main body and means for filtering fluid to substantially block precipitates in a chamber of a dispenser while allowing fluid in the dispenser to flow through the hollow main body. In certain embodiments, the filter device further includes means for inhibiting clogging of the means for filtering. The means for filtering can include a perforated side all, screen, mesh, or combinations thereof. The means for inhibiting clogging can include one or more protrusions (e.g., cantilevered members) configured to inhibit movement of solid particles in the fluid.

"In some embodiments, a filter device includes one or more recessed regions through which fluid flows. The recessed regions can be laterally offset perforated sidewalls. The main body of the filter device can have protrusions that extend outward past through-holes in the perforated wall."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Roper, Philip G.; Talucci, Kevin; Rowland, Shane. Dispenser with Filter Device. U.S. Patent Number 8790596, filed May 31, 2012, and published online on July 29, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Antibodies, Immunology, Blood Proteins, Immunoglobulins, Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

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Source: Life Science Weekly

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