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Tumor Microarray 101

by Jody Barbeau PhD, August 23, 2018 at 12:00 PM | Tags

example pre-made FFPE tumor microarray (TMA) slide showing Ki-67 staining of colorectal cancer cores

example pre-made FFPE tumor microarray (TMA) slide showing Ki-67 staining of colorectal cancer coresDiscover tumor microarrays, for high-throughput analysis of DNA, mRNA, and protein targets.

High Throughput Selection of Molecular Targets

One main issue in preclinical oncology research is selection – how do you select targets of interest, how do you find new diagnostic markers, and how do you select cell lines or models that might be useful for you?

One method is through tumor tissue microarrays (TMAs), which are the focus of this post.

What are Tumor Microarrays?

TMAs are tumor tissue arrays featuring cores from a variety of preclinical oncology models, such as traditional xenografts, patient-derived xenografts (PDX), or immuno-oncology models like tumor homografts or syngeneics. The cores are formalin fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE) with arrays created on glass slides ensuring maximal preservation of limited and irreplaceable tissue samples.

Each array contains a range of models from one model type, often covering one cancer type per array. Each model can be represented by duplicate or triplicate cores, allowing maximum data confidence.

What are the Applications of Tumor Microarrays?

TMAs allow high-throughput analysis of DNA, mRNA, and protein targets under identical, standardized conditions. They are a practical tool for the molecular analysis of tissues, allowing identification of new diagnostic and prognostic markers, as well as human cancer molecular targets.

TMAs are also amenable to immunohistochemistry staining and, potentially, in situ hybridization.

They can also be used for downstream purposes. For example, if you have a niche target with few/no cell lines available, you can use a TMA to find PDX models from a large selection or range of cancer types which express what you need. This chosen model can then be used to generate a new cell line, bespoke to your study requirements.

Custom TMAs

If you can’t find TMAs available for your model or cancer type of interest, then there is the option for custom TMA production, which can often provide results in less than one month.

Tumor Microarray Vendors

Multiple vendors, including Pantomics, US Biomax, and Origene, offer TMAs with both cancer and normal tissue microarrays.

Alternatively, CrownBio offers multiple pre-made formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) TMAs from our patient-derived xenograft models across a range of cancer types, as well as TMAs featuring cell line derived xenografts, syngeneics, and tumor homograft models. These are excellent tools for evaluating models prior to initiating a study.


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