Objective 2

To develop internationally recognised protocols for the preparation of cells, tissue and biofluids for clinical spectroscopy



  • Canvas current local practices in clinical sample preparation for spectroscopy
  • Design definitive studies using partial factorial design for optimisation of sample preparation
  • Provide optimised protocols for sample preparation for round-robin studies throughout the network
  • The adoption of appropriate clinical sample preparation for spectroscopic studies
  • Longer term monitoring of the uptake of the optimised method within the international community
  • Review the optimised method in light of any developments in instrumentation and techniques

 Reasoning and added value

At present, there is wide variation between various research groups regarding sample preparation. In pathology, the samples are often prepared by clinical technicians using nominally standard protocols which have been developed for basic optical microscopy. Thus, although the samples may look OK, it is still unclear if they have maintained their biochemical integrity.

The samples are normally formalin fixed and paraffin embedded or flash frozen. Both these preparation methods involve multistep processes and there is significant variation in how these steps are carried out. Some of this variations is unavoidable due to clinical reasons e.g. (i) how long between excised tissue being removed from the patient to the point when it is either fixed or flash frozen (ii) the size of the excised tissue (which will influence fixation/freezing rates) or (iii) how the sample has been removed (scalpel or thermal lance) etc.

As yet there has been no study of how these variations influence spectra. In order to make this study meaningful this must involve several different hospitals in order to capture the variation in procedures. In addition we will investigate the variability in sample preparation for cytology e.g. cytospin vs smear vs monolayer culture.