Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, a global provider of products and services for biomedical research and cellular therapy, announced that it has signed a purchase contract for a non-harmful, fluorescence-preserving, optical clearing process from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
The acquired invention involves an easy-to-use protocol that allows a safe optical clearing of biological samples for microscopy using an organic solvent-based clearing agent. It is the first method for preparing large biological samples for three-dimensional imaging that completely avoids the use of any harmful agents while maintaining fluorescent staining for high-quality imaging. With the support of PROvendis the university has already registered the new process for international patent approval.
The new clearing agent unites the speed of an organic solvent with the harmlessness of water-based clarifiers. Tests have shown that the clearing process, including dehydration, of a mouse brain only takes two days with the new protocol compared to 10-14 days when using water-based protocols.
Unlike agents based on organic solvents, there is no danger from inhaling dangerous fumes or any adverse effects of accidental skin contact. It is less aggressive and therefore much easier to handle in the laboratory and under the microscope than the commonly used organic solvent-based clarifiers. It even naturally occurs in pineapples and is approved as an additive for winemaking.
One of the key challenges when optically clearing entire organs is the preservation of fluorescence staining that has been performed beforehand. When benchmarking the new clearing medium with others it shows excellent fluorescent signal preservation and only a minor impact on the tissue structure thus offering best prerequisites for microscopic analysis of biological samples.
“The new clearing agent is harmless, easy-to-use even for untrained personnel, cost-effective and already successfully tested in a number of studies. It holds great promise for a successful commercialization”, says Dr. Dominik Eckardt , R&D Manager at Miltenyi Biotec. Optical clearing of tissue samples is an essential process step in sample preparation for light-sheet and ultramicroscopy. “With the improved clearing protocol, we are now able to set new standards in high-end imaging, further strengthening our portfolio of pioneering analytical tools for biomedical research”, adds Dr. Dominik Eckardt. Miltenyi Biotec recently acquired the high-end microscopy specialist LaVision BioTec GmbH, expanding its range of products for cell analysis and preclinical imaging with premium expertise in microscopy.
The company will initially offer the new clearing agent for neurobiology and cancer research applications as it can play a key role in the study of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease by helping to visualize and quantify plaque formation in mouse brains. Going forward, the company plans to manufacture, and market further products based on the newly acquired clearing protocol.