Immunohistochemistry is an immunostaining application, microscope-based technique that uses an antibody to view a specific protein in biological tissue. One of the main uses of this technique is the determination of tissue distribution of an antigen of interest in health and disease as well.

This process involves a specific antigen-antibody reaction, and it is also used with the aim to diagnose abnormal cells in solid tumours, as well as visualize molecular markers for cellular events such as apoptosis. Furthermore, it is useful to monitor the expression and localization of biomarkers.

However, the ones who are new to this method can struggle due to the many steps in the procedure that can each add variations that will impact staining.

Although there are not universal reference standards, the immunohistochemistry has been considered an art rather than a laboratory test because of its ability to analyse the role of standardisation of external controls for test performance characteristics and the role of standardises controls for overall standardisation of immunohistochemistry. The use of standardized washing steps throughout (duration, volume, and form of agitation) is also possible thanks to the immunohistochemistry which ensures the consistency of results. 

Standardisation of controls in immunohistochemistry

Nowadays, the requirement for greatly improved standardisation and reproducibility of IHC is extremely necessary. Whereas the past years the immunohistochemistry was completely forgotten, this orphan status is changing because anatomical pathologists are coming to terms with the notion that the principles of clinical laboratory testing and quality assurance may be employed to convert a qualitative immunohistochemistry test into something that may approach a tissue-based immunoassay with a quantitative potential.

In fact, two recent papers had focus on standardisation of controls in IHC, one for negative controls and the other one for positive ones, that were largely authored by leaders throughout the world.

Only by standardising controls, we could accomplish the following issues:

  1. Determine that the proper antibody was applied.
  2. Determine that expected technical sensitivity and specificity is achieved.
  3. Follow reproducibility testing, running the test and between laboratories..
  4. Transfer methodology from published literature to the clinical laboratory.


The Poly Stainer, an instrument for automate your immunohistochemistry tests

As it has been seen on the publications, automatize when doing the immunohistochemistry is especially important so a lot of errors can be avoided. This is possible with the Poly Stainer which gives the space to program according to your needs. Suitable for batch or stat operation and with a memory capacity of 10 programs, each with 10 different positions, most manual staining process can be automated on the Poly Stainer.

A programmable microbiology and histology staining instrument, the Poly Stainer can reduce the technologist bench time significantly. The constant rinse cycle eliminates cross contamination, producing a standardized, clear stained film so it increases your lab productivity and provides standardized, high quality results.

The periods of time during which the samples are to remain moving or resting in the staining solution, as well as the drip time over the tank, can be programmed freely thanks to the integrated water batch used to rinse the samples. We can also program the rinsing time and when fresh water needs to be added too.