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2015-05-21 TMA in Biomarker research
  
 
MALDI MSI (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation) is a molecular imaging technique which does not require previous knowledge of analytes. It is therefore suitable for the discovery of new biomarkers. However, the success of biomarker research depends substantially on the analysis of large numbers of well-characterized samples. This is usually limited by the availability of such samples and, equally important, time. The analysis of tissue microarrays (TMAs) with MSI can overcome these limitations because tissue microarrays allow for the analysis of hundreds of specimens in a single experiment under identical analytic conditions.
A tissue microarray is a collection of small tissue cores (usually with a diameter of 0.6-1.0 mm) taken from donator tissue blocks and transferred into an empty paraffin block. This allows for the study of tissue sample taken from up to 1000 different individuals in one experiment.

Tissue microarrays can either be built from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) or from fresh-frozen tissue material. Both kinds of sample material can be used for analysis by mass spectrometric imaging.

Study of large-scale tissue microarrays
Large-scale tissue microarrays with formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue cores can hold up to 1000 samples of different tumors per block. With mass spectrometric imaging, an untargeted high-throughput analysis of a huge number of samples can be performed under identical analytic conditions.
Since the large-scale tissue microarrays contain FFPE tissue cores, specific sample preparation methods are required prior to mass spectrometric analysis, including heat and acidic or basic pretreatment and on-tissue tryptic digestion.