“This is a radically different approach to previous lymph node diagnosis”, explains Schöning. Instead of cutting tissue, the samples are dissociated into individual cells. The grinding device required for this procedure, the so-called “Tissue Grinder”, was developed by the IPA team. The trick is that cells are being so carefully separated that they still function. In the next phase, tumor cells are colored, analyzed under the microscope, and counted. All of this is fully automated without a laboratory technician. The expertise for this system was contributed by the research team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS.
The tumor cells are subsequently examined for genetic changes in order to select the optimal treatment for individual patients. This molecular test method was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM in Regensburg. The software Merlin, developed by the IPA team, digitizes the entire procedure and makes it available in an electronic lab notebook covering all laboratory steps: from processing the samples to filing the findings report.
Automation not only makes the new LyDia HD diagnosis more precise but also quicker and more cost-effective than previous methods. Additionally, it immediately provides important information on the nature of the tumor cells for further treatment. This helps doctors to select suitable medication for the patient as part of a follow-up treatment plan. As a result, the new system is therefore playing an important role in the personalized medication of the future.