CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Renovo Neural, Inc., a specialty research company that has spun off from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, announced that it has launched the world’s first for-profit nanohistology service based on automated, high-speed 3D-Electron Microscopy (3D-EM). Working with the company, customers submit cell and tissue samples and, in return, receive image stacks containing hundreds of sequential slices through their material. They thus gain a complete 3-dimensional profile of their sample with the nanometer resolution necessary to see cell ultrastructure and interactions. Importantly, customers receive the data within a few days after submission, compared to wait-times of several weeks to months when using alternative sources.
“Until now, 3D-EM has been the province of just a handful of major universities and medical institutions,” notes Dr. Satish Medicetty, president and CEO of Renovo, "And its use, even for organizational insiders, entails lengthy delays. Any outside researcher who wants the kind of nanoscale examination of samples possible with 3D-EM may have to wait in line for months and even years.”
“With the new ease of access to 3D-EM that Renovo now provides, we believe that biological researchers will begin finding it commonplace to read tissues at the nanoscale, resulting in radically new insights—not only for basic science research, but in evaluating drugs and other therapies. Instead of saying that a given drug is toxic to the kidneys, for example, they will be able to see that it is toxic specifically to the podocytes, epithelial cells of the kidney which are best viewed at the nanoscale resolution.”
Last month, Renovo, in collaboration with Gatan, Inc., and Carl Zeiss Microscopy, gave its first public workshop demonstration to over 30 researchers from around the United States. Renovo plans a subsequent workshop in Cleveland this summer, as well as workshops in Boston and San Francisco later this year. Dr. Diego Bohórquez, a researcher at Duke University, Renovo customer, and Cleveland workshop attendee, says: “3D-EM is allowing me to take my research to another level and facilitating the identification of a novel mechanism through which the intestines interact with the brain.”
Renovo’s 3D-EM unit, an automated serial block-face scanning unit containing an SEM (Sigma VP) from Zeiss and an in-chamber ultramictrome (3View) from Gatan, represents the third such installation in the U.S. and the 11th in the world. The new unit offers approximately 10 times the speed of earlier 3D-EM generations, resulting in significantly lower costs to operate. “Technological advances in this latest generation of 3D-EM instruments have made 3-dimensional EM accessible to a wide range of researchers, many without prior EM experience,” says Dr. Grahame Kidd, an EM expert from Cleveland Clinic and Scientific Advisor to Renovo. “We have been impressed by the broad number of disciplines of the researchers who want to utilize this advanced technology,” says Dr. Kidd, who chaired Renovo’s 3D-EM workshop. Attendees at workshop included researchers in neuroscience, ophthalmology, nephrology, and developmental biology. Additional inquiries have come from other disciplines, such as materials science.
The technology may offer particular advantages to neuroscientists. Renovo Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Bruce Trapp, who is also Chairman, Department of Neurosciences at the Cleveland Clinic, says, “This technology can potentially redefine what people know and understand about brain and other tissues.” He sees the new technology as particularly relevant for the emerging discipline of connectomics, which seeks to map all the synaptic connections of animal brains, analogous to the way genomics has mapped animal genes.
Working with Trapp, whose Clinic department already owns and operates the U.S.’s first Sigma VP-3View system, Renovo has developed several standardized protocols for analyzing the data sets, which can exceed a terabyte. “This latest generation of 3D-EM represents a new scientific frontier,” notes Dr. Medicetty, “and our approach will be to collaborate with customers on developing new general applications and protocols. At the same time, we want to make it clear that any Intellectual Property relating to client samples, will, of course, belong to the customer.”
About Renovo Neural
Renovo Neural Inc. (http://www.renovoneural.com/) is a privately held company in Cleveland, OH. The company is a specialized research organization providing services to biotech, pharmaceutical and research organizations. Renovo provides a new generation of ultrastructural analyses through its advanced 3D-electron microscopy infrastructure.