(19)
(11)EP 2 932 230 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
05.02.2020 Bulletin 2020/06

(21)Application number: 13865973.5

(22)Date of filing:  17.12.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G01N 1/36  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/IL2013/051038
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/097295 (26.06.2014 Gazette  2014/26)

(54)

MOLDING APPARATUS FOR EMBEDDING BIOLOGICAL SPECIMEN IN A BLOCK AND RELATED METHOD

FORMVORRICHTUNG ZUM EINBETTEN BIOLOGISCHER PROBEN IN EINEN BLOCK UND ZUGEHÖRIGES VERFAHREN

APPAREIL DE MOULAGE POUR INTÉGRER UN SPÉCIMEN BIOLOGIQUE DANS UN BLOC ET MÉTHODE ASSOCIÉE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 17.12.2012 US 201261737845 P
18.11.2013 US 201361905296 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
21.10.2015 Bulletin 2015/43

(73)Proprietor: UC-Care Ltd.
2069201 Yokneam (IL)

(72)Inventors:
  • PASTERNAK, Alex
    6274411 Tel Aviv (IL)
  • SCHWEIZER, Keren
    2516700 Tal El (IL)

(74)Representative: Straus, Alexander et al
2K Patent- und Rechtsanwälte Dr. Alexander Straus Keltenring 9
82041 München / Oberhaching
82041 München / Oberhaching (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2004/028693
JP-U- 3 143 450
US-A1- 2005 112 034
US-A1- 2010 184 127
GB-A- 2 144 366
US-A- 5 612 218
US-A1- 2010 184 127
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The invention, in some embodiments, relates to the field of molds and molding apparatuses for embedding a biological specimen in a block of embedding material, and more particularly but not exclusively, to molding apparatuses for embedding a biopsy sample in a block of embedding material prior to sectioning.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] Molds are often used during processing of biological specimen e.g. for fixing such specimen in a block of an embedding material. For example, molds, typically made of stainless steel, are used for embedding samples of biopsy tissues in a paraffin block. Such embedding is carried out as a preliminary step before sectioning the samples for examining the tissues e.g. under a microscope in a histopathology laboratory.

    [0003] Biopsy tissues may be obtained from a live organ using one of various methods. The following description relates to obtaining and processing core biopsy tissues for histopathology; however relevant steps of the method described below are commonly employed for preparation of other types of biopsy tissues as well.

    [0004] Core biopsy is a routine procedure used to obtain a sample of a biological tissue using a core biopsy needle. The obtained sample tissue has a typical shape of a long and narrow stripe - e.g. about 20mm long and about 1mm wide. A typical preparation process of a core biopsy sample prior to examination is detailed for example in US 7,156,814, and may include the following steps:
    1. a. The biological sample is placed in a sample box, possibly after being submerged in a preservative solution. Inside the sample box the sample is gently pressed, using a box cover, between two sheets of a soft material such as a sponge, which prevents displacement of the sample tissue inside the box. An example of a sample box is Tissue-Tek® Uni-Cassettes® by SAKURA FINETEK USA, INC. The sample box is then marked with an alpha-numeric string (e.g. digits and letters) identifying the sample and its origin.
    2. b. The tissue inside the box may be taken through a chemical process, possibly of several hours, intended to fixate and dry the sample. The chemical process may include \immersion in neutral buffered formaldehyde preservative solution, in ethanol, in xylene and/or in paraffin. Then the sample tissue is dried.
    3. c. Dried tissue is removed from the sample box and placed in a mold, the mold being about the size of the sample box. The sample tissue is fixed to the compartment floor of the mold, typically using a drop of liquid paraffin and by gently pressing onto the sample tissue until the paraffin solidifies. An example of a metal mold is Tissue-Tek® Compartment floor Molds by SAKURA FINETEK USA, INC.
    4. d. The sample box, without cover, is fixed on top of the metal mold, and the space within, that is to say between the metal mold and the sample box, is filled with liquid paraffin.
    5. e. After the block of paraffin solidifies the metal mold is removed, leaving the sample box (with the marked string identifying the sample tissue) filled with a block of paraffin and with the sample tissue on top.
    6. f. The sample box with the sample tissue is taken for slicing. Slices of typical thickness of a few microns are taken from the top surface of the paraffin block, carrying slices of the sample tissue therein.
    7. g. Selected slices are placed between two glass plates and inserted to an oven for melting the paraffin. After removing the liquid paraffin, the sample tissue between two glass plates is taken for examination, e.g. under a microscope.


    [0005] US patent 5,612,218 discloses a mould for embedding a tissue sample in a paraffin block, having a recess with a bottom. Provided in the bottom of the recess is a cavity whose cross-section corresponds substantially to the cross-section of the tissue sample.

    [0006] US 2005/112034 discloses a molding apparatus for preparing a tissue specimen for histological examination. The mold comprises a depression. A sheet or a recess is not disclosed.

    [0007] JP 3 143450 U discloses a molding apparatus according to the preamble of claim 1.

    [0008] Some methods for processing sample tissues include, prior to embedding the sample tissue in a block, attaching the sample tissue to a sample sheet. Some such methods are described in international patent application publication WO 2013/105095, filed on January 10, 2013, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Such a sample sheet may adhere to a biological tissue upon manually pressing on, or adjoining the biological tissue and the sample sheet. Such a sample sheet can further maintain adherence with the biological tissue, and the biological tissue remains stuck to the sample sheet following immersion in water solutions such as formaldehyde and during a chemical process applied to the sample tissue in preparation to examination, as described above. Examples for a sample sheet as described herein include: a mesh film of cellulose esters such as Immobilon-NC Transfer Membrane by Millipore™; a film such as Mixed Cellulose Esters Membrane ME 25 or WME by Whatman Ltd; and a film such as Supor® 200 PES Membrane Disc Filter by Pall Corporation or NL-17 or Super charged membrane by Whatman Ltd. Further examples for a sample sheet may include a film such as Cellulose Filters, for example grade 1 or grade 42 or grade 542, by Whatman Ltd. Further examples for a sample sheet may include a mesh film of cellulose esters covered with glue or another adhesive material so that sample tissues adhere to it. Examples for a sample sheet may further include paper, or another thin and flexible sheet that may adhere to a sample tissue upon contact the sample tissue and the sample sheet or upon adjoining the sample tissue and the sample sheet, by glue, adhesive forces, electrostatic forces or using any other technique.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0009] The invention relates to the field of molds for embedding a biological specimen in a block of embedding material. According to some embodiments the invention relates to a molding apparatus for embedding a biopsy sample in a block of embedding material prior to sectioning.

    [0010] Current methods for handling a biopsy sample and particularly for embedding such a biopsy sample in a block of embedding material as discussed above may suffer significant deficiencies. Specifically, step (c) above including embedding the biopsy sample in a paraffin block, is carried out with relatively little control on the position, orientation and spatial arrangement of the sample tissue on the compartment floor of the mold. In practice, the sample tissue may curl, may partially lift from compartment floor or may even split to several pieces. A sample which is captured in the block in position or orientation which diverts from an ideal horizontal and straight arrangement might lead to a smaller sample size in a slice after sectioning the block, to loss of original orientation of the sample, and generally to reduced inspection efficiency and detection likelihood.

    [0011] According to some methods and as discussed above, the sample tissue may be attached to the compartment floor of the mold, e.g. using a drop of liquid paraffin which solidifies quickly, and by pressing the sample onto the compartment floor during the solidification of the paraffin. Such pressing may be carried out e.g. by pressing the sample in multiple points thereon typically by hand and using a pointed tool. Such a method may be less than optimal, since an even pressure on the sample towards the compartment floor of the mold cannot be guaranteed. While pressing the sample in one side, another side may lift from the compartment floor. Further, points of the sample which are held pressed to the compartment floor as the paraffin solidifies might remain squeezed, while other regions of the sample are not squeezed, and may even be slightly detached from the compartment floor. Alternatively to pressing the sample using a pointed tool, a press having a flat, planar foot may be used. Ideally, such a press may compel and restrict the sample tissue to a plane, as substantially dictated by the planar foot of the press. Yet, in practice it is difficult if not impossible to employ a constant force by hand when pressing various samples in various occasions. Moreover, even if constant force may be guaranteed, the pressure on a particular sample is dependent on the sample's surface size. Further yet, even if constant pressure could be guaranteed, the amount of squeezing of a particular sample may depend on the stiffness of the sample. Consequently, when using a planar press, some samples may be too squeezed towards the compartment floor, whereas other samples may be insufficiently pressed. Moreover when using a press to manually press samples onto a mold's compartment floor, deviations from parallelism between the compartment floor and the planar foot of the press may not be completely avoided. As a result a sample may be pressed more on one side and therefore squeezed too much on that one side, and may be pressed less, or not at all, on another side.

    [0012] Some methods for processing sample tissues include, prior to embedding the sample tissue in a block, attaching the sample tissue to a sample sheet. Such methods may further include placing the sample in a mold so that the sample tissue is on a surface of the sample sheet facing the compartment floor of the mold. Figure 1A schematically illustrates a sample sheet 2 carrying two core biopsy samples 6, positioned in a mold 6 so that the biopsy samples are disposed between the sample sheet and the compartment floor of the mold. According to such methods, another step may include employing an embedding material to form a block of the embedding material inside the mold that captures and embeds the sample sheet there inside with the biological sample. Figure 1B schematically depicts, in a cross-sectional view, a block of an embedding material 8, embedding sample sheet 2 and core biopsy samples 4.

    [0013] Generally, employing a sample sheet as described above to facilitate handling a sample tissue in a process such as a process of preparation for examination is preferred over alternative methods that do not employ such a sample sheet. Particularly, a sample tissue that is adhered to a sample sheet and placed inside a mold usually maintains its shape, and therefore maintains straightness and planarity. By using such a sample sheet, loss of specimen, particularly loss of small portions thereof which are otherwise lost, is prevented or at least minimized. Further, basic handling functions such as carrying the sample from place to place are simplified.

    [0014] Yet, if a sample sheet holding a sample tissue as described above is placed on a planar compartment floor of a mold, the produced block of embedding material incorporating the sample tissue and the sample sheet may be less than optimal. Particularly, portions of the sample sheet that are not supported by the sample tissue may fold down, as schematically depicted in Figure 1A and in Figure 1B. As a result, segments of the sample sheet may be situated in planes of sectioning of the block of paraffin for obtaining slices of the sample tissue, and obstruct or jeopardize the sectioning.

    [0015] Thus, according to claim 1 of the present invention there is provided a molding apparatus for producing a biological tissue embedded in a block of an embedding material.

    [0016] According to some embodiments the depression has a non-symmetrical shape, substantially precluding rotational symmetry of the mold except for the trivial rotational symmetry of 360 degrees, so that the block of embedding material produced in the mold has a non-symmetrical shape, substantially precluding rotational symmetry of the block except for the trivial rotational symmetry of 360 degrees. A non-symmetrical block enables knowing and maintaining an orientation of a sample even when the sample is embedded inside the block. For example, a core biopsy sample may be placed in the mold so that a distal side of the core biopsy is closer to a particular side of the block. The particular side of the block may be recognized because of the lack of rotational symmetry, hence the orientation of the sample may be known even when the sample is embedded in the embedding material and even if the sample therefore may not be seen.

    [0017] The compartment floor can be non-planar. By non-planar compartment floor it is meant that the compartment floor is not flat, thus substantially diverging from a plane. The compartment may have a first upper surface comprising with the compartment floor, and further comprise a step-wise depression extending downwards from the compartment floor and having a depression floor defining a second surface lower than the upper surface. According to some embodiments the depression may have a rectangular shape (in top view), having walls extending upwards from the floor of the depression towards the upper surface. The compartment floor may be split by a single step, thus divided into an upper surface on one side and a depression on another side. The compartment may have compartment floor consisting of a first upper surface, a step-wise depression extending downwards from the upper surface and a sample recess extending downwards from the floor of the depression, as is exemplified in Figures 2 and 3 herein. The compartment may have a shape of a muffin-tin or an egg cartoon, having an array of depressions configured for accepting biological tissues therein. The compartment floor may have a shape of an undulated sheet, thereby being configured for accepting a plurality of sample tissues having a long and narrow shape such as core biopsies. One or two or a plurality of samples may be placed in a single depression.

    [0018] The compartment floor may be centrally inclined or concave along one direction, thereby defining a downward slope in from the periphery of the compartment floor to its center along the one direction, as is described and explained below.

    [0019] The mold described above is configured to accept a sample sheet configured to attach to a biological tissue and hold the biological tissue thereon. The sample sheet is dimensioned to be positioned in the compartment and to be constrained to the position thereof, at least along one direction, by the compartment. The sample sheet may be round and the compartment may constrain the position of the sample sheet by preventing the sample sheet from displacing laterally. Alternatively, the sample sheet may have a non-round shape, e.g. a rectangular shape, and the compartment may constrain the position of the sample sheet by limiting rotations (in the horizontal plane) of the sample sheet. Constraining the position of the sample sheet is advantageous because it enables knowing the position of a sample tissue inside the block of embedding material, if the position of the sample tissue on the sample sheet is known.

    [0020] The sample sheet carrying a sample tissue is dimensioned to be positioned in the compartment of the mold, so that the biological tissue faces the floor of the depression and is located at least partially within the depression in the compartment.

    [0021] The molding apparatus of the present invention comprises the mold described above and a press. The molding apparatus is configured to enable employing the press to press a biological tissue onto the non-planar compartment floor, and at least partially into the depression. The press has a non-planar foot surface fitting in shape, at least partially, to the compartment floor of the mold. The foot further comprises a protrusion configured to enter at least partially into the depression, when the press is suitably pressed onto the compartment floor. According to some embodiments the foot comprises channels configured to drain excess embedding material from a region between the foot surface and the mold, when the press presses onto the mold and the mold contains liquid embedding material.

    [0022] According to claim 10 of the present invention there is provided a method of embedding a biological tissue in a block of an embedding material.

    [0023] Also disclosed is a cleaning device for cleaning a press, the cleaning device not being part of the present invention. The cleaning device is configured to heat the press e.g. by placing the press on a surface of the cleaning device, such that at least part of the embedding material attached to the press is melted or liquefied and thus removed from the press.

    [0024] Embodiments of the invention are described in the specification herein below and in the appended claims.

    [0025] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention pertains. In case of conflict, the patent specification, including definitions, takes precedence.

    [0026] As used herein, the terms "comprising", "including", "having" and grammatical variants thereof are to be taken as specifying the stated features, integers, steps or components but do not preclude the addition of one or more additional features, integers, steps, components or groups thereof. These terms encompass the terms "consisting of" and "consisting essentially of".

    [0027] As used herein, the indefinite articles "a" and "an" mean "at least one" or "one or more" unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES



    [0028] Some embodiments of the invention are described herein with reference to the accompanying figures. The description, together with the figures, makes apparent to a person having ordinary skill in the art how some embodiments of the invention may be practiced. The figures are for the purpose of illustrative discussion and no attempt is made to show structural details of an embodiment in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention. For the sake of clarity, some objects depicted in the figures are not to scale.

    FIG. 1A schematically depicts sample tissues adhered to a sample sheet inside a mold of the prior art;

    FIG. 1B schematically depicts a cross-section view of a block of an embedding material embedding sample tissues adhered to a sample sheet, as produced using the mold of FIG. 1A;

    FIGs. 2A and 2B schematically depict an embodiment of a mold as described herein in perspective view and in cross section view respectively;

    FIG. 2C schematically depicts a block of an embedding material that was produced in the mold of FIGs. 1A and 1B;

    FIG. 3A schematically depicts in a perspective bottom view an embodiment of a press for pressing a sample tissue onto a compartment floor of the mold of FIG. 2A;

    FIG. 3B schematically depicts a cross-section of an embodiment of a molding apparatus comprising the mold of FIG. 2A and the press of FIG. 3A;

    FIG. 4A schematically depicts in a perspective bottom view another embodiment of a press for pressing a sample tissue onto the compartment floor of the mold of FIG. 2A;

    FIG. 4B schematically depicts a cross-section of an embodiment of a molding apparatus comprising the mold of FIG. 2A and the press of FIG. 4A;

    FIGs. 5A and 5B schematically depict, in an exploded view and a cross-section view, respectively, the mold of FIG. 2A with a sample tissue adhered to a sample sheet, the sample sheet being positioned in the mold;

    FIGs. 6A and 6B schematically depict, in an exploded view and a cross-section view, respectively, an embodiment of a molding apparatus comprising the mold of FIG. 2A and the press of Figure 3A, in use with a sample sheet;

    FIGs. 7A and 7B schematically depict, in an exploded view and a cross-section view, respectively, an embodiment of a molding apparatus comprising the mold of FIG. 2A and the press of Figure 4A, in use with a sample sheet;

    FIGs. 8A to 8D schematically depict, in a cross section view, blocks of an embedding material embedding inside a sample tissue adhered to a sample sheet, produced, respectively, by a mold of the prior art and by three molds according to the teachings herein;

    FIG. 9A schematically depicts an embodiment of a cleaning device for cleaning the press of FIG. 3A by heating;

    FIG. 9B schematically depicts the cleaning device of FIG. 9A with the press of FIG. 3A positioned thereon;

    FIG. 10A schematically depicts an embodiment of a cleaning device for cleaning the press of FIG. 4A by heating, and

    FIG. 10B schematically depicts the cleaning device of FIG. 10A with the press of FIG. 4A positioned thereon.

    Figs. 3, 6, 8A-8C, 9 and 10 disclose subject matter not encompassed by the scope of the claims for illustrative reasons only.


    DESCRIPTION OF SOME EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION



    [0029] The principles, uses and implementations of the teachings herein may be better understood with reference to the accompanying description and figures. Upon perusal of the description and figures present herein, one skilled in the art is able to implement the invention without undue effort or experimentation.

    [0030] Before explaining at least one embodiment in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not necessarily limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components and/or methods set forth herein. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. The phraseology and terminology employed herein are for descriptive purpose and should not be regarded as limiting.

    [0031] Figures 2A and 2B schematically depict a mold 10 in perspective view and in cross section view, respectively. Mold 10 is configured for producing a biological tissue embedded in a block of an embedding material, as is further explained in detail herein below. Mold 10 comprises a compartment 12 configured for containing the embedding material. For example, if paraffin is the embedding material, hot and liquid paraffin may be poured into compartment 12 and cooled therein until the paraffin solidifies to a block. Thus, compartment 12 defines a bottom part of the block's shape.

    [0032] Compartment 12 comprises a non-planar compartment floor 14 confined by four walls 16 extending upwards from compartment floor 14. Compartment 12 comprises a sample sheet depression 18 configured to accept a sample sheet (not shown) holding a sample of a biological tissue thereon. The sample sheet depression may have in some embodiments a non-symmetrical shape (when viewed from the top). Sample sheet depression 18 comprises a single truncated corner 20, having thereby a generally rectangular shape with one truncated corner. By having a non-symmetrical shape, sample sheet depression precludes from mold 10 a rotational symmetry (except for the trivial 360 degrees rotation). According to some embodiments, a sample sheet used with mold 10 may have a non-symmetrical shape corresponding to a non-symmetrical shape of the sample sheet depression, thereby identifying an orientation. For example the sample sheet may have a rectangular shape having similar dimensions to dimensions of the sample sheet depression, and having one truncated corner corresponding to a truncated corner of the sample sheet depression. The sample sheet may thus be positioned inside the sample sheet depression in a single orientation only, thereby establishing an unambiguous relation between a shape of the block of embedded material produced in the mold, and an orientation of the sample sheet embedded therein.

    [0033] Sample sheet depression 18 further comprises a depression floor 22 at a bottom thereof. A sample recess 24, extends downwards from sample depression floor 22 to a recess floor 26 on a bottom portion thereof. Sample recess 24 is configured to accept at least one biological sample, for example a core biopsy sample, obtained e.g. using a biopsy needle. Such a biological sample may be situated in sample recess 24 according to at least one of several methods, as is further described and explained below. One or two or a plurality of separate samples may be placed in sample recess 24.

    [0034] According to some embodiments, depression floor 22 is centrally-inclined, i.e. lower at its center then at its perimeter. Being centrally inclined means that the sample sheet depression has a downward slope in a direction from the periphery of the depression floor to its center, as is illustrated in Figure 2B. Depression floor 22 is curved along the cross-section plain of Figure 2B, so that depression floor 22 is lower near sample recess 24 compared to near the periphery of depression floor 22. In use, an embedding material may be employed with mold 10, having a biological sample in sample recess 24, to produce a block of an embedding material that captures the biological sample there inside. For example, a sample tissue may be placed inside sample recess 24 and hot and liquid paraffin may be then poured into compartment 12 until the paraffin covers the sample tissue and fills sample recess 24, sample sheet depression 18 and possibly a part of compartment 12 between four walls 16. Such paraffin may be poured into mold 10 in two steps or even in more than two steps, wherein each step is performed after the paraffin poured in the previous step had solidified. After the paraffin cools and solidifies, a block of paraffin embedding the sample tissue is thereby produced. Figure 2C depicts schematically a block 30 of an embedding material that was produced in mold 10 having a sample tissue in sample recess 24. Block 30 comprises a sample sheet protrusion 32 and sample protrusion 34, corresponding to sample sheet depression 18 and to sample recess 24 of mold 10, respectively. The sample tissue is, at least partially, inside sample protrusion 34.

    [0035] Since depression floor 22 is centrally-inclined, i.e. lower towards its center (surrounding sample recess 24) then at its periphery, sample sheet protrusion 32 is convex. Further, sample sheet protrusion 32 comprises a truncated corner 36 corresponding to truncated corner 20 of sample sheet depression 18.

    [0036] Figure 3A schematically depicts from a perspective bottom view a press 50 for pressing a sample tissue onto compartment floor 14 of mold 10, said press 50 not being part of the claimed invention. Press 50 comprises a handle 52 for gripping and maneuvering press 50. Press 50 further comprises a foot 54, attached to handle 52. Foot 54 has outer dimensions that allow foot 54 to enter into sample sheet depression 18 in mold 10. Foot 54 comprises a foot surface 56 at the bottom of foot 54. Foot surface 56 is generally convex with a similar or a same curvature of depression floor 22, thereby coinciding with depression floor 22 at least along an areal portion thereof when foot 54 is entered into sample sheet depression 18.

    [0037] Figure 3B depicts schematically a cross-section of a molding apparatus 60 comprising press 50 and mold 10, when foot 54 is entered into sample sheet depression 18 of mold 10, said molding apparatus 60 not being part of the claimed invention. A gap 62 exists between foot surface 56 and recess floor 26 in sample recess 24, wherein gap 62 is roughly equal to the depth of sample recess 24. When entered into sample sheet depression 18, press 50 may consequently constrain or press a sample tissue positioned in sample recess 24, as is further explained below

    [0038] Foot surface 56 comprises major channels 64 grooved along foot surface 56, for removing excess liquid embedding material from sample sheet depression 18 when foot 54 is pressed into sample sheet depression 18. Major channels 64 are at least partly open at foot surface 56 to drain liquid embedding material from foot surface 56 in a general direction from the center towards the perimeter of foot surface 56. Foot surface 56 further comprises minor channels 66, arranged perpendicular to major channels 64 and extending from major channels 64 towards the perimeter of foot 54 for removing embedding material from major channel 64. Minor channels 66 are at least partly open at major channel 64 to drain liquid embedding material from major channel 64. Foot 54 further comprises side depressions 58 along the perimeter of foot 54. When press 50 is pressed onto mold 10 and foot 54 is entered into sample sheet depression 18 containing liquid embedding material, excess embedding material draining through major channels 64 and minor channels 66 may further be released upwards through side depressions 58 and through the subsequent gaps between foot 54 and the walls of sample sheet depression 18. Major channels 64 may also comprise through holes in foot 54 extending from foot surface 56 upwards through the foot, thereby enabling draining liquid embedding material from the foot surface upwards through the through hole or through holes to above the foot.

    [0039] Figure 4A schematically depicts from a perspective bottom view a press 70 for pressing a sample tissue onto compartment floor 14 of mold 10. Press 70 comprises a foot 72 having a foot surface 74. Press 70 is different from press 50 in that foot 72 comprises a foot protrusion 76 protruding downwards from foot surface 74.

    [0040] Figure 4B depicts schematically a cross-section of an embodiment of a molding apparatus 80 comprising mold 10 and press 70. Foot 72 is entered into sample sheet depression 18, whereas foot protrusion 76 is entered into sample recess 24. Foot protrusion 76 substantially protrudes into sample recess 24, thus gap 68 between sample recess floor 26 and foot protrusion 76 in Figure 4B is generally smaller than gap 62 between sample recess floor 26 and foot surface 56 in Figure 3B.

    [0041] For use of molding apparatus 60 or molding apparatus 80, a sample tissue may be positioned on sample recess floor 26 of mold 10 and liquid embedding material may be added to mold 10. Press 50 or press 70 may then be used for pressing the sample tissue onto sample recess floor 26. During pressing, liquid embedding material is present between sample recess 24 and foot surface 56 or foot surface 74, respectively. While a certain amount of embedding material is required to fill up sample recess 24 to form, following solidification, sample protrusion 34, any excess amount of embedding material may be removed by major channels 64 and/or minor channels 66 which drain any excess amount of embedding material.

    [0042] Gap 62 and gap 68 can be configured to be large enough to include sample tissues therein without substantially squeezing such sample tissues. Gap 62 and gap 68 can also be configured to be fit to sample tissues size, so that a typical sample tissue is pressed to floor 26 of compartment floor 14 by a pre-defined amount. For example when using molding apparatus 60 or molding apparatus 80 with core biopsy samples obtained using a core biopsy needle and having a typical width of 1mm in diameter, gap 62 and/or gap 68 may be configured to have a height of 1.3 mm, thereby constraining the sample to a maximum distance from a top of the sample protrusion of nominally 0.3mm. Gap 62 and/or gap 68 may be about 1mm, thereby constraining the sample to sample recess floor 26 and consequently to the top of sample protrusion 34. Alternatively, gap 62 and/or gap 68 may be 0.7mm at the center axis, thereby squeezing a typical core biopsy sample by 0.3mm.

    [0043] The dimensions of gap 62 or gap 68 are determined by the type of mold and press used. For example, using a molding apparatus 60 as described in Figure 3B defines gap 62 by sample recess floor 26, whereas the walls of sample recess 24 extend upwards from sample recess floor 26, and by a convex curve of foot surface 56. Likewise, using a molding apparatus 80 as described in Figure 4B defines gap 68 by sample recess floor 26 and by foot protrusion 76.

    [0044] According to some methods, molding apparatus 60 may be employed to embed a sample tissue in a block of an embedding material such as block 30 of Figure 2C. For example, paraffin may be used as the embedding material as is explained below. A small amount of liquid paraffin, less than an amount required to fill sample recess 24, is poured into sample recess 24. A sample tissue is situated in sample recess 24 and press 50 is pressed into sample sheet depression 18, thereby pressing the sample tissue into sample recess 24 and submerging the sample tissue in the small amount of paraffin therein. After the small amount of paraffin solidifies, thereby capturing the sample tissue, press 50 may be removed, and an additional amount of liquid paraffin may be poured into compartment 12 to produce a complete block such as block 30.

    [0045] Employing press 50 or press 70 as described above to press the sample tissue into sample recess 24 is advantageous because the eventual arrangement of the sample tissue inside block 30 is not dependent on the force applied on press 50. In other words, press 50 is pressed until foot surface 56 or foot surface 74, respectively, contacts depression floor 22, and therefore the sample tissue inside sample recess 24 is not squeezed or, alternatively, is squeezed to a pre-defined amount as described above. Consequently, when eventually the sample tissue is embedded in block 30, the sample tissue may be confined to a plane and parallel to sample recess floor 26 of sample recess 24, conforming to the general shape of the gap. Employing press 50 or press 70 as described above is further advantageous because major channels 64 and minor channels 66 drain excess paraffin from sample recess 24 outwards to the periphery region of depression floor 22 and possibly upwards through side depressions 58, thus enabling the press (whether press 50 or press 70) to press against sample sheet depression 18 without being stopped by the opposite pressure of such excess paraffin.

    [0046] Figure 5A is an exploded diagram schematically depicting a use of mold 10 with a sample sheet 82. Sample sheet 82 is configured to adhere to a sample tissue, substantially as described above. Sample sheet 82 is dimensioned to fit into sample sheet depression 18 in mold 10. According to some embodiments, a sample tissue 84 (an edge of which is shown in Figures 5A and 5B) may be adhered to sample sheet 82 on a face thereof facing sample recess floor 26 of sample recess 24. Sample sheet 82 is thus configured to be placed substantially inside sample sheet depression 18 so that sample tissue 84 is situated substantially inside sample recess 24.

    [0047] Figure 5B schematically depicts mold 10 and sample sheet 82 in cross-section view. Sample sheet 82 is situated inside sample sheet depression 18, and sample tissue 84 is thereby situated substantially within gap 62. A block of an embedding material such as block 30 and including a sample tissue adhered to sample sheet 82 there inside may be produced by employing the embedding material in conjunction with mold 10. For example, liquid paraffin may be poured into compartment 12 of mold 10. Sample sheet 82 and sample tissue 84 may be suitably arranged therein, prior to pouring the embedding material or after pouring the embedding material. After the paraffin solidifies a block embedding sample tissue 84 is thereby produced. Sample sheet 82 may be perforated or punctured or slotted, thereby being permeable to liquid paraffin, so that liquid paraffin may easily pour through sample sheet 82 to fill in sample recess 24.

    [0048] Mold 10 is advantageous because sample sheet 82 may not fold or flex, thus portions of sample sheet 82 do not jeopardize sectioning the resulting block as in previously known molds. In cases wherein depression floor 22 is centrally inclined, sample sheet 82 is arranged substantially convex on depression floor 22, whereas sample tissue 84 is substantially inside sample recess 24. In an associated block 30 produced using mold 10, sample tissue 84 is embedded substantially inside sample protrusion 34, and therefore plains of sectioning of sample protrusion 34 to obtain slices of sample tissue 84 are generally more distant from sample sheet 82 compared to molds wherein sample sheet depression is not centrally inclined, thereby reducing the likelihood of undesired sectioning of the sample sheet.

    [0049] Figure 6A is an exploded schematic diagram of an example of a molding apparatus 60 not being part of the claimed invention, said molding apparatus comprising mold 10 and press 50, in use together with sample sheet 82. Figure 6B schematically depicts a cross-section view of said molding apparatus 60, having a sample sheet 82, carrying a sample tissue 84 adhered thereon, placed inside centrally-inclined depression floor 22. Press 50 presses sample sheet 82 and sample tissue 84 substantially into sample recess 24.

    [0050] Figure 7A is an exploded schematic diagram of an embodiment of molding apparatus 80 comprising mold 10 and press 70, in use together with sample sheet 82. Figure 7B schematically depicts a cross-section view of an embodiment of molding apparatus 80, having a sample sheet 82, carrying a sample tissue 84 adhered thereon, placed inside sample sheet depression 18.

    [0051] A block of an embedding material, embedding a sample tissue may be produced using molding apparatus 60 or molding apparatus 80. For example, a sample tissue 84 may be adhered to sample sheet 82 and sample sheet 82 may be placed substantially inside sample sheet depression 18 so that the face thereof carrying sample tissue 84 is facing mold 10 and sample tissue 84 is situated substantially inside sample recess 24. A small amount of liquid paraffin, enough to fill sample recess 24, is poured into sample recess 24. Press 50 or press 70 are pressed into sample sheet depression 18, thereby curving sample sheet 82 and pressing sample tissue 84 into sample recess 24 and submerging sample tissue 84 in the paraffin therein. Excess quantity of paraffin may be pressed out from sample recess 24 through major channels 64 and minor channels 66. After the small amount of paraffin solidifies, thereby capturing sample tissue 84, press 50 may be removed, and an additional amount of liquid paraffin may be poured into compartment 12 to produce a complete block such as block 30.

    [0052] Some of molding apparatus 60 and molding apparatus 80 may be advantageous because in a block of embedding material such as block 30, produced using molding apparatus 60 or molding apparatus 80 and comprising sample tissue 84 therein, sample tissue 84 is necessarily arranged substantially confined to a plane, being adhered to sample sheet 82 and being confined by gap 62 or gap 68 respectively. Moreover, by considering the size of sample tissues that are expected to be embedded using molding apparatus 60 or molding apparatus 80, the size of gap 62 or gap 68 respectively may be configured. Accordingly, when employing molding apparatus 60 or molding apparatus 80 as described above, a sample tissue that is to be embedded, may not be squeezed at all, or may be squeezed to any desired extent, according to the thickness of the sample tissue compared to the size of gap 62 or gap 68, respectively. Further yet, foot protrusion 76 of press 70, causes sample tissue 84 to enter substantially into sample recess 24 by pressing onto and folding sample sheet 82 in a portion thereof into sample recess 24. Hence, a suitable separation is provided between sample tissue 84 that is relatively protruding into sample protrusion 34 of block 30, and sample sheet 82 which is necessarily embedded deeper inside block 30. As detailed above, the shape of sample sheet 82 inside block 30, dictated by the curvature of depression floor 22 and foot surface 56 or foot protrusion 76, increases the separation between sample tissue 84 that is relatively protruding into sample protrusion 34 of block 30, and sample sheet 82 which is necessarily embedded deeper inside block 30.

    [0053] Figures 8A to 8D schematically depict four blocks, respectively, of an embedding material embedding there inside sample tissue 84a adhered to sample sheet 82a, in a cross section view. The blocks depicted in figures 8A to 8C are not part of the claimed invention. Specifically, Figure 8A schematically depicts a block 8 produced using a mold 5 of the prior art such as mold 6 depicted in Figures 1A. A sectioning plain 86a indicates schematically a plain of sectioning the block with the sample tissue 84a inside to obtain a slice of the sample tissue suitable for inspection. Sectioning plain 86a includes not only a portion of sample tissue 84a but also a portion of sample sheet 82a, thereby demonstrating a potential disadvantage of a mold of the prior art compared to molds disclosed herein.

    [0054] Figure 8B depicts a block 30b of an embedding material, comprising a sample sheet protrusion 32b and a sample protrusion 34b, generated in a mold described herein wherein depression floor 22 is not convex but is flat (outside the region of sample recess 24). Consequently, sample sheet 82b in Figure 8B is substantially planar. A sectioning plain 86b indicates schematically a plain of sectioning the block with the sample tissue 84b inside to obtain a slice of the sample tissue suitable for inspection. Compared to sectioning performed in a block obtained from a mold of the prior art such as block 8 described above, sectioning plain 86b includes a smaller portion of the paraffin block, namely a portion corresponding to sample protrusion 34b. Moreover, sectioning plain 86b does not include any portion of sample tissue 84b, thereby diminishing a risk of obstructing the sectioning by the sample sheet.

    [0055] Figure 8C depicts a block 30c of an embedding material, comprising a sample sheet protrusion 32c and a sample protrusion 34c, generated in a molding apparatus such as molding apparatus 60, with a mold 10 having a centrally inclined depression floor, and using press 50 (wherein foot surface 56 is convex with no protrusion). Consequently, sample sheet 82c in Figure 8C is substantially convex, thereby distancing sample sheet 82c from the sectioning plain 86c even more, compared to block 30b in Figure 8B.

    [0056] Figure 8D depicts a block 30d of an embedding material, comprising a sample sheet protrusion 32d and a sample protrusion 34d, generated in a molding apparatus 80 comprising mold 10 and using press 70 (wherein foot surface 74 is convex with foot protrusion 76). Consequently, sample sheet 82d in Figure 8D is substantially convex, and further penetrates into sample protrusion 34d due to foot protrusion 76, thereby distancing sample sheet 82d from the sectioning plain 86d even more, compared to block 30c in Figure 8C.

    [0057] Molding apparatuses 60 and 80 comprise mold 10 having depression floor 22 being concave, and a press 50 or press 70, respectively, with a convex foot surface 56 or foot surface 74, respectively. The curvature of foot surface 56 and foot surface 74 is equal or similar to the curvature of depression floor 22. This curvature confers two advantages to molding apparatuses 60 and 80. First, sample tissue 84, either when adhered to sample sheet 82 or when independently placed on a drop of embedding material in sample recess 24, is pushed towards sample recess floor 26. This reduces the labor required to expose sample tissue 84 when sectioning sample protrusion 34. Second, when sample sheet 82 is used to place a sample tissue 84 into sample recess 24, sample sheet 82 acquires the same curvature of depression floor 22 and foot surface 56 or foot surface 74. A curved sample sheet 82, in which the edges are more distant from the center carrying sample tissue 84, eliminates the risk of segments of sample sheet 82 being situated in planes of sectioning.

    [0058] Figure 9A is a perspective schematic diagram of a cleaning device 90. Cleaning device 90, which is not part of the claimed invention, is configured to clean a press such as press 50 used for embedding a sample tissue in an embedding material inside a mold. Such cleaning is carried out by heating and melting residues of the embedding material left on the press. Cleaning device 90 comprises a cleaning surface 92, fitting in shape, at least partly, to foot surface 56 of press 50. Cleaning surface 92 is of the same curvature of foot surface 56. Cleaning surface 92 is configured to be heated, and to transfer heat towards foot surface 56 when press 50 is placed thereon. Due to the heating, residues of embedding material attached to foot surface 56 liquefy and detach from foot surface 56, potentially onto cleaning surface 92. Cleaning surface 92 comprises a cleaning device major channel 94 for draining liquid embedding material from cleaning surface 92. Cleaning device major channel 94 is at least partly open at cleaning surface 92 to drain liquid embedding material from foot cleaning surface 92. Cleaning device 90 further comprises on a bottom part thereof a cleaning device depression 98. Cleaning device depression 98 is configured to be attached to a solid base (not shown) when cleaning device 90 is in use or during storage, the base being configured to stabilize cleaning device 90 in

    [0059] Figure 9B is a schematic diagram of a cleaning device 90 and a press 50 positioned thereon, in a section view, said cleaning device 90 and press 50 not being part of the claimed invention. Press 50 comprises at its bottom foot surface 56, which may become contaminated with residues of embedding materials, e.g. paraffin. Cleaning surface 92 is concave, optionally with the same curvature of foot surface 56, in order to maximize cleaning surface 92 and foot surface 56 interaction area thereby facilitating the cleaning process.

    [0060] Figure 10A is a schematic diagram of a cleaning device 100, comprising a cleaning surface 102 and cleaning device major grooves 94. Cleaning device 100 is not part of the claimed invention. Cleaning device 100 is different from cleaning device 90, by further comprising a cleaning device central groove 96, configured to accept foot protrusion 76 of press 70 therein. Cleaning device 100 is thereby configured to clean a press such as press 70, by heating and melting residues of the embedding material left on the press.

    [0061] Figure 10B is a schematic diagram of cleaning device 100 and a press 70 positioned thereon , in a section view, said cleaning device 100 not being part of the claimed invention. Press 70 comprises foot protrusion 76, which may become contaminated with residues of embedding materials, e.g. paraffin. Cleaning device central groove 96 receives therein, at least in part, foot protrusion 76.

    [0062] Cleaning devices 90 or 100 may comprise cleaning surfaces 92 and 102, respectively, with a similar curvature of foot surface 56 or foot surface 74, respectively. The phrases "similar curvature" and "same curvature" are used interchangeably and define two or more faces, which are curved, wherein the surfaces may coincide, when brought to contact one another, at least along an areal portion thereof. For example, foot surface 56 and depression floor 22 may have the same or a similar curvature, foot surface 56 and cleaning surface 92 may have the same or a similar curvature, and depression floor 22 and cleaning surface 92 may have the same or a similar curvature.

    [0063] Cleaning surface 92 and cleaning surface 102 may be heated to enable melting residues of embedding material from a press placed thereon. Cleaning surface 92 and cleaning surface 102 is not horizontal, when cleaning device 90 or cleaning device 100, respectively, is in use. Cleaning device major groove 94 is not horizontal when cleaning device 90 or cleaning device 100, respectively, is in use. Cleaning device central groove 96 is not horizontal when cleaning device 100 is in use. Cleaning device central groove 96 is configured to accept, at least in part, foot protrusion 76, thereby increasing the contact area between cleaning device 100 and press 70 placed thereon. Cleaning surface 92, cleaning device major groove 94 and cleaning device central groove 96 may not be horizontal when in use to facilitate liquid embedding material removal from press 50 or press 70, on cleaning device 90 or cleaning device 100, respectively, by gravity.

    [0064] Heating of cleaning surface 92 and cleaning surface 102, in cleaning device 90 and cleaning device 100, respectively, may be achieved by various methods. Cleaning surface 92 or cleaning surface 102 may be exposed to an external heat source, such as a heating lamp, a hotplate or any heated surface, before a press is placed thereon, or during a time a press is situated thereon. Cleaning surface 92 or cleaning surface 102 may be kept in a warm environment, such as an oven, before use or during use. Cleaning surface 92 or cleaning surface 102 may be kept in a warm liquid, such as in a water bath before use or during use. Cleaning surface 92 or cleaning surface 102 may be heated by being exposed to radiation such as microwave radiation or infra-red radiation. To be heated by an external heat source, cleaning surface 92 or cleaning surface 102 may be capable of being heated by an external heat source, i.e. capable of substantially storing heat. Cleaning surface 92 and cleaning surface 102 withstands temperatures below 200° degrees Celsius.

    [0065] Cleaning device 90 or cleaning device 100 may comprise an internal heat source, such as an electric heating coil for heating cleaning surface 92 or cleaning surface 102, respectively. The internal heat source may be powered by an external energy source, such as the electric grid, via e.g. an electric cord, or the internal heat source may be powered by an internal source, such as a battery, via e.g. electric wiring, and the cleaning device may be portable.

    [0066] Thus, there is provided a mold 10 for producing a biological tissue embedded in a block 30 of an embedding material. The mold comprises a compartment 12 configured for containing the embedding material, the compartment having a compartment floor 14 and at least one wall 16 extending upwards from the compartment floor. The compartment comprises at least one depression 18 extending downwards from the compartment floor, and the depression comprises a depression floor 22. At least one of the depression floor and compartment floor is curved at least along one direction, thereby being centrally inclined. The depression is configured for accepting a biological tissue at least partially therein, the mold being thereby configured for producing a block of an embedding material having at least one protrusion (32, 34), associated with the at least one depression, wherein the biological tissue is embedded at least partially in the protrusion.

    [0067] The compartment 12 has a non-symmetrical shape, substantially precluding rotational symmetry of the mold except for a trivial rotational symmetry of 360 degrees, the mold being thereby configured to produce a block of an embedding material without rotational symmetry except for the trivial rotational symmetry of 360 degrees. According to some embodiments the depression 18 has a substantially rectangular shape with one truncated corner 26, thereby precluding a rotational symmetry from the mold.

    [0068] The compartment further comprises a sample recess 24, extending downwards from the depression floor.

    [0069] According to the present invention there is provided a molding apparatus comprising the above mold and a sample sheet 82 configured to attach to a biological tissue 84 and hold the biological tissue thereon. The sample sheet is dimensioned to be positioned in the compartment and to be constrained to the position thereof, at least along one direction (in the horizontal plain), by the compartment. The sample sheet is precluded by the compartment from lateral displacements and/or the sample sheet is denied by the compartment from rotational displacements.

    [0070] The sample sheet is configured for holding a sample tissue 84 thereon and is positioned in the compartment so that the biological tissue faces the depression floor (22, 26) and located at least partially within the at least one depression.

    [0071] The molding apparatus (80) further comprises a press 70. The molding apparatus is configured to press the biological tissue at least partially into the depression. The press comprises a handle 52 for gripping the press, and a foot 54, 72 comprising a non-planar foot surface 56, 74, the foot being configured to enter at least partially into the compartment.

    [0072] The compartment 12 of the mold comprises a sample recess 24 extending downwards from the depression floor and having a sample recess floor 26, and the foot comprises a foot protrusion 76 configured to enter at least partially into the sample recess when the press enters the compartment. The biological tissue is a core biopsy sample wherein a gap 68 between the foot protrusion 76 and the sample recess floor when the press is fully entered into the compartment corresponds to a width of the core biopsy sample.

    [0073] At least one of the depression floor 22 and the compartment floor 14 of the mold is curved at least along one direction, thereby being centrally inclined. According to some embodiments, the foot surface 56 of the press 70 is curved at least along one direction, thereby being convex. The foot surface coincides with the depression floor at least along an areal surface portion thereof when the press enters the compartment.

    [0074] According to some embodiments the foot of the press comprises a channel 64, 66, 58 configured to drain liquid embedding material when the press is pressed onto the compartment floor. According to some embodiments the channel comprises a groove extending between an edge of the foot surface and a central region of the foot surface, thereby being configured to drain liquid embedding material from the central region outwards towards the edge, or from a periphery of the foot surface towards a central region thereof, when the press enters the compartment. The channel may comprise a through hole extending from the foot surface upwards through the foot, thereby being configured to drain liquid embedding material from the foot surface upwards or from above the foot towards the foot surface.

    [0075] Also disclosed but not forming part of the invention is a cleaning device (90, 100) configured to heat up a press (50, 70), the press being configured for pressing a sample tissue in a mold with an embedding material. The press comprises a foot (54, 72) having a foot surface (56, 74) and the cleaning device comprises a cleaning surface (92, 102) fitting in shape, at least partially, to the foot surface of the press. The foot surface can be substantially curved, and the cleaning surface has a substantially same curvature as the foot surface.

    [0076] The cleaning surface may comprise channels 94, the channels being open at the cleaning surface, for draining liquid embedding material from the press.

    [0077] The cleaning device may further comprise an internal heat source for heating the foot of the press. The internal heat source can be an electric heating coil. The cleaning device can be configured to receive energy from an external electric power source using an electric cord. The cleaning device can be configured to receive energy from an internal electric power

    [0078] According to the present invention there is provided a method of embedding a biological tissue in a block of an embedding material, comprising providing a molding apparatus according to the teachings herein; attaching a biological tissue to the sample sheet, positioning the sample sheet having the biological tissue attached thereto inside the compartment so that the biological tissue faces the depression floor and located at least partially within the at least one depression of the compartment, employing an embedding material to produce a block of the embedding material inside the compartment wherein the biological tissue is embedded at least partially in a protrusion of the block corresponding to the at least one depression of the compartment, and pressing the press onto the compartment floor thereby inserting the biological tissue at least partially into the at least one depression, and thereby obtaining a block of the embedding material comprising the biological tissue embedded at least partially in the at least one protrusion of the block.


    Claims

    1. A molding apparatus (80) for producing a biological tissue embedded in a block (30) of an embedding material, said molding apparatus (60), comprising:

    a mold (10) comprising a compartment (12) configured for containing said embedding material, said compartment having a compartment floor (14) and at least one wall extending upwards from said compartment floor, and said compartment (12) comprises at least one depression (18) extending downwards from said compartment floor (14), and wherein said depression (18) comprises a depression floor (22), and wherein said depression (18) is configured for accepting said biological tissue (84) at least partially therein, and

    a press (70), said molding apparatus (60) being configured to press a biological tissue (84) at least partially into said depression (18), said press (70) comprising a handle (52) for gripping said press (70), and a foot (54) comprising a non-planar foot surface (56), said foot (54) being configured to enter at least partially into said compartment (12);

    characterized in that at least one of said depression floor (22) and compartment floor (14) is curved at least along one direction, thereby being centrally inclined;

    and in that said molding apparatus (80) further comprises a sample sheet (82) configured to attach to said biological tissue (84) and hold said biological tissue thereon, said sample sheet (82) being further dimensioned to be positioned in said compartment (12) and to be constrained to said position thereof, at least along one direction, by said compartment (12);

    wherein said compartment (12) of said mold (10) comprises a sample recess (24) extending downwards from said depression floor (22) and having a sample recess floor (26), and said foot (54) comprises a foot protrusion (76) configured to enter at least partially into said sample recess (24) when said press (70) enters said compartment (12); and

    wherein said biological tissue (84) is a core biopsy sample wherein a gap (68) between said foot protrusion (76) and said sample recess floor (26) when said press (70) is fully entered into said compartment (18) corresponds to a width of said core biopsy sample.


     
    2. The molding apparatus (60) of claim 1, wherein said compartment (18) has a non-symmetrical shape, precluding rotational symmetry of said mold (10) except for a trivial rotational symmetry of 360 degrees, said mold (10) being thereby configured to produce a block (30) of an embedding material without rotational symmetry except for the trivial rotational symmetry of 360 degrees.
     
    3. The molding apparatus (60) of claim 2, wherein said depression (18) has a rectangular shape with one truncated corner (20), thereby precluding a rotational symmetry from said mold (10).
     
    4. The molding apparatus (60) of any of claims 1 to 3, wherein said sample sheet (82) is precluded by the compartment (12) from lateral displacements.
     
    5. The molding apparatus (60) of any of claims 1 to 4, wherein said sample sheet (82) is precluded by the compartment (12) from rotational displacements.
     
    6. The molding apparatus (60) of any of claims 1 to 5, wherein said sample sheet (82) is holding a sample tissue thereon and is positioned in said compartment (12) so that said biological tissue faces said depression floor (22) and located at least partially within said at least one depression (18).
     
    7. The molding apparatus (60) of any of claims 1 to 6, wherein said depression floor (22) of said mold (10) is curved at least along one direction, thereby being centrally inclined and said foot surface (56) of said press (70) is curved at least along one direction thereby being convex, so that said foot surface (56) coincides with said depression floor (22) at least along an areal surface portion thereof when said press (70) enters said compartment (12).
     
    8. The molding apparatus (60) of any of claims 1 to 7, wherein said foot (54) of said press (70) comprises a channel (58, 64, 66) configured to drain liquid embedding material when said press (70) is pressed onto said compartment floor (14).
     
    9. The molding apparatus (60) of claim 8, wherein said channel (58, 64, 66) comprises a groove extending between an edge of said foot surface (56) and a central region of said foot surface (56), thereby being configured to drain liquid embedding material from said central region outwards towards said edge, or from a periphery of said foot surface (56) towards a central region thereof, when said press (70) enters said compartment (12).
     
    10. A method of embedding a biological tissue in a block of an embedding material, comprising:

    - providing the molding apparatus (60) of any of claims 1 to 9;

    - attaching the biological tissue to the sample sheet (82);

    - positioning the sample sheet (82) having the biological tissue thereon inside the compartment (12) so that the biological tissue faces the depression floor (22) and located at least partially within the at least one depression (18) of the compartment (12),

    - employing an embedding material to produce the block (30) of the embedding material inside the compartment (12) wherein the biological tissue is embedded at least partially in a protrusion (34) of the block (30) corresponding to the at least one depression (18) of the compartment (12); and

    - pressing the press (70) onto the compartment floor (14) thereby inserting the biological tissue at least partially into the at least one depression (18), and thereby obtaining a block (30) of the embedding material comprising the biological tissue embedded at least partially in the at least one protrusion (34) of the block (30).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Gießvorrichtung (80) zur Herstellung eines in einem Block (3) aus einem Einbettungsmaterial eingebetteten biologischen Gewebes, worin die Gießvorrichtung (60) umfasst:

    eine Gießform (10) mit einem Abteil (12), das ausgestaltet ist, das Einbettungsmaterial zu enthalten, worin das Abteil einen Abteilboden (14) und mindestens eine Wand umfasst, die sich von dem Abteilboden nach ober erstreckt, und worin das Abteil (12) mindestens eine Vertiefung (18) umfasst, die sich von dem Abteilboden (14) nach unten erstreckt, und worin die Vertiefung (18) einen Vertiefungsboden (22) umfasst, und worin die Vertiefung (18) ausgestaltet ist, das biologische Gewebe (84) mindestens teilweise darin aufzunehmen, und

    eine Presse (70),

    worin die Gießvorrichtung (60) ausgestaltet ist, ein biologisches Gewebe (84) mindestens teilweise in die Vertiefung (18) zu pressen, worin die Presse (70) einen Handgriff (52) zum Greifen der Presse (70) umfasst, und einen Fuß (54), der eine nicht-planare FußOberfläche (56) umfasst, worin der Fuß (54) ausgestaltet ist, mindestens teilweise in das Abteil (12) einzudringen;

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass mindestens einer des Vertiefungsbodens (22) und des Abteilbodens (14) mindestens entlang einer Richtung gekrümmt, und dadurch zentral geneigt ist;

    und dass die Gießvorrichtung(80) weiter eine Probenlage (82) aufweist, die ausgestaltet ist, das biologische Gewebe (84) anzubringen und das biologische Gewebe daran zu halten, worin die Proben-Lage (82) weiter bemessen ist, in dem Abteil (12) angeordnet und in der Position davon durch das Abteil (12) in mindestens entlang einer Richtung beschränkt zu werden;

    worin das Abteil (12) der Gießform (10) eine Proben-Vertiefung (24) umfasst, die sich nach unten von dem Vertiefungsboden (22) erstreckt und einen Proben-Vertiefungsboden (26) aufweist, und worin der Fuß (54) einen Fuß-Vorsprung (76) umfasst, der ausgestaltet ist, mindestens teilweise in die Probenvertiefung (24) einzudringen, wenn die Presse (70) in das Abteil (12) gelangt; und

    worin das biologische Gewebe (84) eine Kembiopsie-Probe ist, worin ein Spalt (68) zwischen dem Fußvorsprung (76) und dem Probenvertiefungs-Boden (26) einer Weite der Kembiopsie-Probe entspricht, wenn die Presse (70) voll in das Abteil (18) eingetreten ist.


     
    2. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach Anspruch 1, worin das Abteil (18) eine nicht-symmetrische Form aufweist, die eine Rotationssymmetrie der Gießform (10) außer eine triviale Rotationssymmetrie von 360 Grad ausschließt, worin die Gießform (10) dadurch ausgestaltet ist, einen Block (30) aus einem Einbettungsmaterial ohne Rotationssymmetrie herzustellen, außer der trivialen Rotationssymmetrie von 360 Grad.
     
    3. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach Anspruch 2, worin die Vertiefung (18) eine rechteckige Form mit einer abgeschnittenen Ecke (20) aufweist, wodurch eine Rotationssymmetrie der Gießform (10) ausgeschlossen ist.
     
    4. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, worin die Proben-Lage (82) durch das Abteil (12) an einer lateralen Versetzungen gehindert wird.
     
    5. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, worin die Proben-Lage (82) durch das Abteil (12) an einer Dreh-Versetzungen gehindert wird.
     
    6. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, worin die Proben-Lage (82) eine Gewebeprobe darauf hält und in dem Abteil (12) angeordnet ist, so dass das biologische Gewebe dem Vertiefungsboden (22) gegenüberliegt und mindestens in der mindestens einen Vertiefung (18) angeordnet ist.
     
    7. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, worin der Vertiefungsboden (22) der Gießform (10) mindestens entlang einer Richtung gekrümmt ist, dadurch zentral geneigt und worin die Fußoberfläche (56) der Presse (70) mindestens entlang einer Richtung gekrümmt und dadurch konvex ist, so dass die Fußoberfläche (56) mit dem Vertiefungsboden (22) mindestens entlang eines Bereichsoberflächenbereich davon übereinstimmt, wenn die Presse (70) in das Abteil (12) eindringt.
     
    8. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, worin der Fuß (54) der Presse (70) einen Kanal (58, 64, 66) umfasst, der ausgestaltet ist, flüssiges Einbettungsmaterial abzuleiten, wenn die Presse (70) auf den Abteilboden (14) gedrückt wird.
     
    9. Gießvorrichtung (60) nach Anspruch 8, worin der Kanal (58, 64, 66) eine Vertiefung umfasst, die sich zwischen einer Kante der Fußfläche (56) und einem zentralen Bereich der Fußfläche (56) erstreckt, und dadurch ausgestaltet ist, flüssiges Einbettungsmaterial aus dem zentralen Bereich nach außen auf die Kante abzuleiten, oder von einem Umfang der Fußoberfläche (56) auf den zentralen Bereich davon, wenn die Presse (70) in das Abteil (12) gelangt.
     
    10. Verfahren zum Einbetten eines biologischen Gewebes in einen Block eines Einbettungsmaterials, welches umfasst:

    - Bereitstellen einer Gießvorrichtung (60) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9;

    - Anbringen des biologischen Gewebes an die Probenlage (82);

    - Positionieren der Probenlage (82) mit dem biologischen Gewebe daran in dem Abteil (12), so dass das biologische Gewebe dem Vertiefungsboden (22) gegenüberliegt und mindestens teilweise in der mindestens einen Vertiefung (18) des Abteils (12) angeordnet ist,

    - Verwenden eines Einbettungsmaterials, um einen Block (30) des Einbettungsmaterials in dem Abteil (12) herzustellen, worin das biologische Gewebe mindestens teilweise in einem Vorsprung (34) des Blocks (30) entsprechend der mindestens einen Vertiefung (18) des Abteils (12) eingebettet ist; und

    - Drücken der Presse (70) auf den Abteilboden (14) und dadurch Inserieren des biologischen Gewebes mindestens teilweise in die mindestens eine Vertiefung (18), und dadurch Erhalten eines Blocks (30) des Einbettungsmaterials, das das biologische Gewebe mindestens teilweise in dem mindestens einen Vorsprung (34) des Blocks (30) eingebettet umfasst.


     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil de moulage (80) pour produire un tissu biologique enrobé dans un bloc (30) d'un matériau d'enrobage, ledit appareil de moulage (60) comprenant :

    un moule (10) comprenant un compartiment (12) conçu pour contenir ledit matériau d'enrobage, ledit compartiment présentant un fond de compartiment (14) et au moins une paroi s'étendant vers le haut à partir dudit fond de compartiment et ledit compartiment (12) comprenant au moins un creux (18) s'étendant vers le bas à partir dudit fond de compartiment (14) et ledit creux (18) comprenant un fond de creux (22) et ledit creux (18) étant conçu pour recevoir ledit tissu biologique (84) au moins partiellement en son sein et

    une presse (70), ledit appareil de moulage (60) étant conçu pour presser un tissu biologique (84) au moins partiellement dans ledit creux (18), ladite presse (70) comprenant une poignée (52) pour saisir ladite presse (70) et un pied (54) comprenant une surface de pied non plane (56), ledit pied (54) étant conçu pour entrer au moins partiellement dans ledit compartiment (12) ;

    caractérisé en ce qu'au moins l'un parmi ledit fond de creux (22) et ledit fond de compartiment (14) est incurvé au moins le long d'une direction, étant ainsi incliné de manière centrale ;

    et en ce que ledit appareil de moulage (80) comprend en outre une feuille d'échantillon (82) conçue pour se fixer audit tissu biologique (84) et pour maintenir ledit tissu biologique sur elle, ladite feuille d'échantillon (82) étant en outre dimensionnée pour être positionnée dans ledit compartiment (12) et pour être contrainte dans ladite position correspondante, au moins le long d'une direction, par ledit compartiment (12) ;

    ledit compartiment (12) dudit moule (10) comprenant un évidement d'échantillon (24) s'étendant vers le bas à partir dudit fond de creux (22) et présentant un fond d'évidement d'échantillon (26) et ledit pied (54) comprenant une saillie de pied (76) conçue pour pénétrer au moins partiellement dans ledit évidement d'échantillon (24) lorsque ladite presse (70) pénètre dans ledit compartiment (12) ; et

    ledit tissu biologique (84) étant un échantillon de biopsie au trocart, un interstice (68) entre ladite saillie de pied (76) et ledit fond d'évidement d'échantillon (26) lorsque ladite presse (70) est entièrement introduite dans ledit compartiment (18) correspondant à une largeur dudit échantillon de biopsie au trocart.


     
    2. Appareil de moulage (60) selon la revendication 1, ledit compartiment (18) présentant une forme non symétrique, empêchant la symétrie rotationnelle dudit moule (10) à l'exception d'une symétrie rotationnelle insignifiante de 360 degrés, ledit moule (10) étant ainsi conçu pour produire un bloc (30) d'un matériau d'enrobage sans symétrie rotationnelle à l'exception de la symétrie rotationnelle insignifiante de 360 degrés.
     
    3. Appareil de moulage (60) selon la revendication 2, ledit creux (18) présentant une forme rectangulaire pourvue d'un coin tronqué (20), empêchant ainsi une symétrie rotationnelle dudit moule (10).
     
    4. Appareil de moulage (60) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, le compartiment (12) empêchant les déplacement latéraux de ladite feuille d'échantillon (82).
     
    5. Appareil de moulage (60) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, le compartiment (12) empêchant les déplacements rotationnels de ladite feuille d'échantillon (82).
     
    6. Appareil de moulage (60) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, ladite feuille d'échantillon (82) contenant un tissu d'échantillon sur elle et étant positionnée dans ledit compartiment (12) de sorte que ledit tissu biologique est orienté vers ledit fond de creux (22) et situé au moins partiellement au sein dudit au moins un creux (18).
     
    7. Appareil de moulage (60) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, ledit fond de creux (22) dudit moule (10) étant incurvé au moins le long d'une direction, étant ainsi incliné de manière centrale et ladite surface de pied (56) de ladite presse (70) étant incurvée au moins le long d'une direction, étant ainsi convexe, de sorte que ladite surface de pied (56) coïncide avec ledit fond de creux (22) au moins le long d'une partie surfacique plane correspondante lorsque ladite presse (70) pénètre dans ledit compartiment (12).
     
    8. Appareil de moulage (60) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, ledit pied (54) de ladite presse (70) comprenant un canal (58, 64, 66) conçu pour drainer du matériau d'enrobage liquide lorsque ladite presse (70) est pressée sur ledit fond de compartiment (14).
     
    9. Appareil de moulage (60) selon la revendication 8, ledit canal (58, 64, 66) comprenant une rainure s'étendant entre un bord de ladite surface de pied (56) et une région centrale de ladite surface de pied (56), étant ainsi conçu pour drainer le matériau d'enrobage liquide à partir de ladite région centrale vers l'extérieur vers ledit bord ou à partir d'une périphérie de ladite surface de pied (56) vers une région centrale correspondante, lorsque ladite presse (70) pénètre dans ledit compartiment (12).
     
    10. Procédé d'enrobage d'un tissu biologique dans un bloc d'un matériau d'enrobage, comprenant :

    - l'utilisation de l'appareil de moulage (60) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9 ;

    - la fixation du tissu biologique à la feuille d'échantillon (82) ;

    - le positionnement de la feuille d'échantillon (82) présentant le tissu biologique sur elle à l'intérieur du compartiment (12) de telle sorte que le tissu biologique est orienté vers le fond de creux (22) et est situé au moins partiellement au sein dudit au moins un creux (18) du compartiment (12),

    - l'utilisation d'un matériau d'enrobage pour produire le bloc (30) de matériau d'enrobage à l'intérieur du compartiment (12), le tissu biologique étant enrobé au moins partiellement dans une saillie (34) du bloc (30) correspondant audit au moins un creux (18) du compartiment (12) ; et

    - le pressage de la presse (70) sur le fond de compartiment (14), ce qui permet d'introduire le tissu biologique au moins partiellement dans ledit au moins un creux (18) et ainsi d'obtenir un bloc (30) de matériau d'enrobage comprenant le tissu biologique enrobé au moins partiellement dans ladite au moins une saillie (34) du bloc (30).


     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description