Title:
SPECIMEN MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tray system for storing and transporting specimens, such as slides and paraffin blocks, includes a first tray having a top face with a first portion including a plurality of first compartments and a second portion adjacent the first portion including a plurality of second compartments, a width of the first compartments greater than a width of the second compartments. A top rim extends upwardly from the top face along a periphery of the first portion, and a bottom rim extends downwardly from an opposed bottom face about a perimeter corresponding to the periphery of the first portion on the top face. A second tray has a top face including a plurality of generally rectangular compartments each including flanges extending only partially across the compartment. A top rim extends upwardly around a perimeter of the top face, and a bottom rim extends downwardly around a perimeter of a bottom face. Both the first and second tray top rims are configured to receive both the first and second tray bottom rims to allow for interchangeable stacking of the first and second trays.



Inventors:
Myers, Jeffrey L. (Dexter, MI, US)
Lucas, Peter (Ann Arbor, MI, US)
Shih, Albert (Ann Arbor, MI, US)
Miller, Scott (Wahiawa, HI, US)
Application Number:
12/562493
Publication Date:
03/18/2010
Filing Date:
09/18/2009
Assignee:
THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (Ann Arbor, MI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/561, 206/563, 206/509
International Classes:
B65D85/00; B65D1/34; B65D21/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080047863Sports Ball Bag SystemsFebruary, 2008Friou et al.
20050133393Storage caddy for a power toolJune, 2005Lawrence et al.
20060144732Portable tool caddyJuly, 2006Kaplan et al.
20090256680CONTAINER FOR RECEIVING ARTICLESOctober, 2009Kilian
20090071867Cosmetic compact with built-in sliding and interactive double baseMarch, 2009Au
20020190112Carton with extension for holding a utensilDecember, 2002Culeron et al.
20010037953Multiple disc packageNovember, 2001Gelardi
20040159561Storage device for medical swabsAugust, 2004Fellinger
20090308764Hemostatic bandage kit and method of useDecember, 2009Lee et al.
20090127149Package for storing dryer sheetsMay, 2009Samarcq et al.
20080125715Shaped Introducer For Vascular AccessMay, 2008Cohen



Primary Examiner:
COLLINS, RAVEN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brooks Kushman (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tray for storing and transporting specimens, comprising: a top face and an opposed bottom face, the top face having a first portion including a plurality of first compartments sized to receive slides, and a second portion adjacent the first portion including a plurality of second compartments sized to receive paraffin blocks, the first compartments having a width greater than a width of the second compartments; a top rim extending upwardly from the top face along a periphery of the first portion; and a bottom rim extending downwardly from the bottom face about a perimeter corresponding to the periphery of the first portion on the top face.

2. The tray according to claim 1, wherein the top rim includes a notch at an end thereof opposite the second portion.

3. The tray according to claim 1, wherein the bottom rim is chamfered.

4. The tray according to claim 1, wherein the bottom face includes ribs having a height approximately equal to a height of the bottom rim.

5. The tray according to claim 1, wherein the top rim includes grooves on opposing sides thereof.

6. The tray according to claim 5, wherein the bottom rim includes recesses opposing the grooves.

7. The tray according to claim 1, wherein the proportion of first compartments to second compartments is about 4:1.

8. A tray for storing and transporting specimens, comprising: a top face and an opposed bottom face, the top face including a plurality of generally rectangular compartments sized to receive slides, each compartment including flanges extending only partially across the compartment to define an area for receiving a paraffin block; a top rim extending upwardly around a perimeter of the top face; and a bottom rim extending downwardly around a perimeter of the bottom face.

9. The tray according to claim 8, wherein the top rim includes a notch at an end thereof.

10. The tray according to claim 8, wherein the bottom rim is chamfered.

11. The tray according to claim 8, wherein the top rim includes grooves on opposing sides thereof.

12. The tray according to claim 12, wherein the bottom rim includes recesses opposing the grooves.

13. The tray according to claim 12, wherein the flanges extend approximately ½ of a width of the compartments.

14. A tray system for storing and transporting specimens, comprising: a first tray configured to receive both slides and paraffin blocks, the first tray having a top face and an opposed bottom face, the first tray having a first portion including a plurality of first compartments and a second portion adjacent the first portion including a plurality of second compartments, a width of the first compartments greater than a width of the second compartments, a first tray top rim extending upwardly from the top face along a periphery of the first portion, and a first tray bottom rim extending downwardly from the bottom face about a perimeter corresponding to the periphery of the first portion on the top face; and a second tray having compartments configured to receive both slides and paraffin blocks, the second tray having a top face and a bottom face, a second tray top rim extending upwardly around a perimeter of the top face, and a second tray bottom rim extending downwardly around a perimeter of the bottom face, wherein both the first and second tray top rims are configured to receive both the first and second tray bottom rims to allow for interchangeable stacking of the first and second trays.

15. The tray system according to claim 14, wherein the top rims of the first and second trays each include grooves on opposing sides thereof which are aligned when the first and second trays are disposed in a stacked configuration.

16. The tray system according to claim 14, wherein the second tray compartments include flanges extending only partially thereacross to define an area for receiving a paraffin block.

17. The tray system according to claim 14, further comprising a third tray configured to receive slides, the third tray having a top face and an opposed bottom face, a third tray top rim extending upwardly around a perimeter of the top face, and a second tray bottom rim extending downwardly around a perimeter of the bottom face, wherein each of the first, second, and third tray top rims are configured to receive each of the first, second, and third tray bottom rims to allow for interchangeable stacking of the first, second, and third trays, wherein the third tray top rim includes grooves on opposing sides thereof that are aligned with the grooves of the first and second trays when the first, second, and third trays are disposed in a stacked configuration.

18. The tray system according to claim 14, further comprising a cover having a top face and an opposed bottom face, a cover bottom rim extending downwardly around a perimeter of the bottom face, wherein the cover bottom rim is configured to be received by both of the first and second tray top rims.

19. The tray system according to claim 18, wherein the cover top rim includes grooves on opposing sides thereof that are aligned with the grooves of the first and second trays when the first and second trays and the cover are disposed in a stacked configuration.

20. The tray system according to claim 14, wherein an active RFID tag is placed on each tray, a bar code is placed on each slide and paraffin block, and another bar code is placed on each tray, wherein the data of each tray and its corresponding slides and paraffin blocks is linked to the information of the active RFID of the tray for tracking purposes.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/098,160 filed Sep. 18, 2008.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to trays and tray systems for storing, transporting, and managing specimens.

2. Background Art

Current methods for transporting, tracking, and storing the vast volume of pathology glass slides and paraffin blocks fall short of meeting expectations in terms of safe and convenient transportation, real-time tracking of case-related materials, efficiency, safety, and patient care risk. Such slides need to survive in storage for decades, but also occasionally need to be accessed for study. Managing the large quantity of slides is labor intensive and, more critically, it is prone to error and expensive. In a study by Troxel (Medicolegal aspects of error in pathology, Archives of Pathology &Laboratory Medicine, 130, pp. 617-619, 2006), 22 (6.5%) of the total 335 pathology malpractice claims reported involved system (operational) errors. Of these, the most common cause of system errors was sample “mix-ups” (13, 59%) resulting in one patient getting an incorrect malignant diagnosis and another getting an incorrect benign diagnosis. Current methods fail to meet the needs for handling and transportation of glass slides and paraffin blocks in pathology labs and other settings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a and 1b illustrate a top plan view of an exemplary prior art polystyrene foam pathology tray, and a side elevational view of a plurality of stacked prior polystyrene foam pathology trays, respectively;

FIGS. 2a and 2b illustrate a top plan view of a prior art cardboard folder pathology tray in the open and closed position, and a side elevational view of a plurality of prior art stacked cardboard folder pathology trays, respectively;

FIGS. 3a and 3b illustrate a top perspective view of a tray according to an aspect of the present invention, and an enlarged view of a portion of the tray, respectively;

FIGS. 4a and 4b illustrate a top perspective view of another tray according to an aspect of the present invention, and an enlarged view of a portion of the tray, respectively;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top perspective view of yet another tray according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a top perspective view of a cover according to an aspect of the present invention;

FIGS. 7a, 7b, 7c and 7d illustrate top plan views of a tray as in FIG. 3 loaded with glass slides, a tray as in FIG. 4 loaded with glass slides and paraffin blocks, a tray as in FIG. 4 loaded with glass slides, paraffin blocks, and paperwork, and a perspective view of ten trays as in FIG. 4 stacked together, respectively;

FIGS. 8a and 8b are top perspective views of trays as in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 and a cover according to an aspect of the present invention stacked together and with the cover removed, respectively;

FIGS. 9a, 9b, and 9c are top perspective views of a bottom face of trays as in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, respectively, according to an aspect of the present invention depicting a common size bottom rim and ribs for structural integrity;

FIGS. 10a and 10b illustrate side elevational views of trays according to an aspect of the present invention before and after stacking, respectively;

FIG. 11 is a top perspective view of a plurality of stacked trays and cover according to an aspect of the present invention including a removable strap;

FIG. 12 depicts an enlarged perspective view of a bottom face of a tray as in FIG. 4 illustrating a rim groove, fastener notches, and a tapered bottom rim according to the present invention; and

FIG. 13 is a schematic representation of a bar code and RFID system which may be used in conjunction with a tray according to an aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale, and some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

In typical pathology labs, the glass slides, paraffin blocks, and related paperwork are put together in a flat bottom tray with raised borders around the outside. Such a tray is typically made of polystyrene foam (e.g., STYROFOAM®), stainless steel, wood, or cardboard. An example of a prior art foam flat bottom tray is shown in FIG. 1a. An advantage of this type of flat bottom tray is the capability to stack it, as illustrated in FIG. 1b. The foam trays in FIG. 1b are covered with a paper towel during use to protect them from the corrosion caused by xylene, a chemical used in glass slide preparation. One drawback of these flat bottom trays is that slides from different cases sit unsecured on top of the tray and may become intermixed. In addition, the flat bottom trays lack aesthetics and professional appearance. Foam trays are neither durable nor strong. Steel and wood flat bottom trays are similar to the foam trays in geometry, and while stronger and more durable than foam trays, have the trade-off of being heavy.

One of the more popular prior art commercial tray designs is the cardboard glass slide tray, as shown in FIG. 2a. This cardboard tray has slots designed for 25 mm×100 mm (1 inch×4 inch) glass slides. Flaps are attached to the holder to secure the slides. One disadvantage of this type of cardboard tray is its inability to hold paperwork and paraffin blocks securely in a stack. FIG. 2b shows the cardboard trays in practical use. The paperwork is either awkwardly inserted between the flap or a rubber band is used to temporarily secure the paperwork to the tray. To find a case, both flaps must be opened during the search for the correct tray, which can be a time consuming and sometimes frustrating process. The cardboard tray does not stack very securely and is heavy during transportation. Due to the large number of parts and labor involved in manufacturing, the cardboard tray is relatively expensive.

Besides foam and cardboard trays, other commercial products for glass slides are available, including plastic folders similar in shape to the cardboard holder, plastic trays, and metal storage boxes. There are a wide range of designs to meet the different needs of mailing, handling, transport, and storage, but each fails to meet the needs for handling and transportation of glass slides and paraffin blocks in the pathology lab. In many cases, current commercial products are designed narrowly for a very specific use, such as mailing or storage of either slides or blocks.

The present invention provides trays and a tray system for quick, convenient transportation of specimens, such as pathology samples, in an anatomic pathology lab or other setting to improve the safety, organization, and efficiency of operations. Several trays and an integrated, modular tray system are described herein for managing specimens, such as pathology materials, throughout the hospital and for providing innovative solutions for specimen transportation and management systems in pathology. In accordance with aspects of the present invention, trays and a tray system are provided that can keep the paraffin blocks, glass slides, and paperwork of a single case together and allow many cases to be stacked and transported safely and systematically, that can handle diverse requirements of different levels of paraffin blocks and glass slides holders, and that provide easy access and visibility.

Various materials such as glass slides, paraffin blocks, and associated paperwork are handled in many steps throughout a case, and the trays and tray system according to an aspect of the present invention help organize, sort and manipulate these items to improve the safety and efficiency of the process. The trays and tray system described herein provide a better, safer way to carry pathology samples from different cases between various locations throughout the hospital. A large amount of space is needed for short-term and long-term storage, and the trays and tray system according to an aspect of the present invention provide storage capable of both increased density of materials and fast and accurate retrieval. Finding a particular glass slide or paraffin block quickly and accurately in the hospital is highly desired. In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, a wireless-based tracking system of the trays and tray system are provided, which may be particularly attractive in large hospitals with samples scattered throughout different locations.

One aim for organization of pathology samples is to minimize sample “mix-ups.” According to an aspect of the present invention, the trays physically separate glass slides, paraffin blocks and paperwork by case, enable the pathologists to see all glass slides in one glance when looking through the trays, and prevent slide dislocation. Structurally, the trays are strong and durable, may be chemically resistant to xylene, and, according to an aspect of the present invention, may be usable in temperatures from −10° C. to 180° C. Ergonomically, glass slides, paraffin blocks, and paperwork may be easily placed into and removed from the trays, and the trays may be lightweight and make handling and transport of the tray and pathology samples convenient.

With reference to FIGS. 3a and 3b, a tray 10 for storing and transporting specimens according to an aspect of the present invention is illustrated. Tray 10 includes a top face 12 and an opposed bottom face 14, where top face 12 includes a plurality of compartments 16 for receiving slides. A top rim 18 extends upwardly from the top face 12 along a perimeter thereof, and a bottom rim 20 (best shown in FIG. 9a) extends downwardly from the bottom face 14 along a perimeter thereof. Paperwork may conveniently be received on top face 12 within the cavity created by top rim 18. According to an aspect of the present invention, tray 10 may include twenty compartments 16 as shown, but is not limited to any particular number, configuration, or orientation of compartments 16. Small indentations 22 may be included near the ends of the glass slide compartments 16 so that, for example, the slides can be propped up from one end for easy removal.

Turning now to FIGS. 4a and 4b, a tray 110 is provided according to an aspect of the present invention, wherein elements similar to tray 10 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “1” prefix. In tray 110, the top face 112 has a first portion 140 including a plurality of first compartments 116 sized to receive slides, and a second portion 142 adjacent the first portion 140 including a plurality of second compartments 144 sized to receive paraffin blocks. As shown, first compartments 116 have a width greater than a width of second compartments 144. The top rim 118 extends upwardly from the top face 112 along a periphery of the first portion 140, and the bottom rim 120 (best shown in FIG. 9b) extends downwardly from the bottom face 114 about a perimeter corresponding to the periphery of the first portion 140 on the top face 112. According to an aspect of the present invention, the proportion of first compartments 116 to the second compartments 144 may be approximately 4:1. In the example depicted, first portion 140 may include twenty first compartments 116 and second portion 142 may include five second compartments 144. Of course, tray 110 is not limited to this configuration, orientation, and/or number of first and second compartments 116, 144. As with tray 10, paperwork may be received on top face 112 within the cavity created by top rim 118. Similar to indentations 122, cut-outs 146 allow for the easy reach and removal of paraffin blocks from second compartments 144. In addition, cut-outs 124 may be included in the tray 110 to make room for fingers to reach any paperwork disposed on the top face 112.

For tissue microarray (TMA) research, hundreds of tissue cores are prepared from paraffin blocks and assembled in a precisely spaced array pattern to allow for simultaneous histological analysis. TMA research presents special logistical needs that can be met with a tray 210 depicted FIG. 5a, wherein elements similar to trays 10 and 110 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “2” prefix. Tray 210 according to an aspect of the present invention may receive a corresponding set of one glass slide and one paraffin block together, satisfying the unique needs of TMA research and cyto-pathology.

Top face 212 includes compartments 250 sized to receive slides, and include flanges 252 extending only partially across each compartment 250 to define an area for receiving a paraffin block. According to an aspect of the present invention, flanges 252 may extend across approximately ½ of the width of the compartment 250, although tray 210 is not limited to this configuration. A top rim 218 extends upwardly around a perimeter of the top face 212, and a bottom rim 220 (best shown in FIG. 9c) extends downwardly around a perimeter of the bottom face 214. According to one non-limiting aspect of the present invention, tray 210 may include twenty-one compartments 250, although any number, orientation, and configuration of compartments 250 is fully contemplated. The compartments 250 are also designed to hold a stack of slides for high density transportation. In this way, either one glass slide can be held with its corresponding paraffin block for visual examination, or a number of glass slides can be stacked for transportation.

To keep the slides secure in the trays 10, 110, 210 during transportation and to separate different cases, a cover 310 may be provided for placement on the top of the trays 10, 110, 210 to prevent the dislocation of slides (FIG. 6). Elements of cover 310 similar to trays 10, 110, and 210 are designated with like reference numerals with the addition of a “3” prefix. Cover 310 may be transparent, and may include the same top rim 318 and bottom rim (not shown) geometry as trays 10, 110, 210 for compatibility therewith, as described further below. Ribs (not shown) may also be provided on an underside of cover 310 to help ensure flatness of cover 310 is retained.

Examples of trays 10, 110 loaded with paraffin blocks, glass slides, and paperwork are shown in FIGS. 7a, 7b, and 7c, and an example of a plurality of trays 110 stacked together is shown in FIG. 7d.

All three types of trays 10, 110, 210 can be stacked together in an arbitrary order to create an integrated, modular tray system according to an aspect of the present invention. Each of the top rims 18, 118, 218 of the trays 10, 110, 210 is configured to receive each of the bottom rims 20, 120, 220 of the trays 10, 110, 210 to allow for interchangeable stacking of the trays 10, 110, 210. Likewise, cover top rim 318 can receive any of the tray bottom rims 20, 120, 220 or the bottom rim (not shown) of another cover 310, and cover bottom rim (not shown) can be received by any of the tray top rims 18, 118, 218 or the top rim 318 of another cover 310. In other words, the size of the bottom rim 20, 120, 220 is the same for all three types of trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310, and mates with the opening of the cavity created by the top rim 18, 118, 218, 318 of all three trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310. Examples of the stacking of trays 10, trays 110, trays 210, and cover 310 are illustrated in FIGS. 8a and 8b.

The area of the open cavity created by the top rim 18, 118, 218, 318 may be sized by the standard paper size, 8.5 inch by 11 inch, plus a margin may be included, (e.g., about 6.4 mm on one side). The height of the top rim 18, 118, 218, 318 may be about 3.8 mm, as shown in the side view of the tray before stacking in FIG. 10a. Of course, trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310 are not limited to these dimensions. The top rim 18, 118, 218, 318 and bottom rim 20, 120, 220 enable stable and organized stacking of trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310 according to the present invention, preventing the problems of the prior art as depicted in FIGS. 1b and 2b. The top rim 18, 118, 218, 318 and bottom rim 20, 120, 220 also provide structural support for the thin walled trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310. According to one non-limiting aspect of the present invention, top rim 18, 118, 218, 318 may be increased, for example, but not limited to, by about 0.05 mm as compared with other tray walls, which may prevent distortion and facilitate stacking of trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3a, 4a, 5, and 6, tray and cover top rims 18, 118, 218, 318 may include one or more grooves 60, 160, 260, 360 on opposing sides thereof. These grooves 60, 160, 260, 360 may be aligned when a combination of trays and covers 10, 110, 210, 310 are disposed in a stacked configuration as shown in FIGS. 8a and 8b, and may provide a location for receiving a strap 400 (see FIG. 11).

Any strap is contemplated according to the present invention such as, but not limited to, a rubberband or one using a hook and loop type faster (e.g., VELCRO®) to secure a stack of any combination of trays 10, 110, 210, with or without a cover 310, for transportation. Additional recesses 162 could also be provided in the bottom rim 118 opposing grooves 160, as shown in FIG. 12, to further aid in locating the strap and stacking trays 10, 110, 210 and covers 310.

As shown in FIG. 12, tray bottom rims 20, 120, 220 and cover bottom rim (not shown) may be chamfered such as, but not limited to, at a 30° angle, to allow for easier stacking of the trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310. The tray and cover bottom rims provide structural integrity as well as acting as a stacking locator.

Referring again to FIGS. 3a, 4a, and 5, top rim 18, 118, 218 may include a notch 64, 164, 264 at one end of the tray 10, 110, 210. Notch 64, 164, 264 may serve many purposes, such as access to paperwork, venting of moisture from the slide and paraffin block specimens, and an orientation identifier to designate a specific end of the tray 10, 110, 210. As shown in FIGS. 9a and 9b, the bottom face 14, 114 may include ribs 66, 166 having a height approximately equal to a height of the bottom rim 20, 120. These ribs 66, 166 increase the bending and torsional strength and make the trays 10, 110, 210 resistant to warping. In addition, trays 10, 110, 210 may be color-coded for categorization or other purposes.

A common complaint of the prior art cardboard tray is its heavy weight. The weight of a tray determines how many of them can be stacked and carried throughout the hospital, making it an important consideration. Polypropylene plastic may be used for construction of trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310 according to an aspect of the present invention, although trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310 are not limited to this material. Polypropylene has good strength, allowing the wall thickness and, therefore, the weight to be reduced in comparison with prior art cardboard trays. According to one non-limiting aspect of the present invention, trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310 may be constructed as a shell with 2 mm wall thickness to remove extra or unneeded material. In addition, polypropylene is a recyclable material that is chemically resistant to xylene.

Trays 10, 110, 210 have compartments for organization and security of the glass slides and paraffin blocks during transport. According to an aspect of the present invention, the slide compartment dimensions may be approximately 25.9 mm×77.2 mm (1.02 inch×3.04 inch), which is slightly larger than the 25 mm×75 mm (1.0 inch×3.0 inch) glass slides, allowing little room for the slide to move. The paraffin block compartment dimensions may be 44.2×30.5×11.7 mm, allowing flexibility for a wide range size of paraffin blocks. Of course, the slide and paraffin block compartments of the present invention are not limited to these dimensions.

All three types of trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310 may have simple, one-piece designs to avoid moving joints, enhance durability, and reduce manufacturing costs. In contrast, prior art cardboard trays often break at the joint of the flap. The design of the trays according to the present invention is expected to provide years of service for each tray. The trays 10, 110, 210 and cover 310 may be manufactured by injection molding process, which can produce quality parts at a high rate with relatively low labor and little waste of material.

Lastly, with reference to FIG. 13, bar code and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology may be incorporated in trays 10, 110, 210 according to an aspect of the present invention to track the trays and the glass slides, paraffin blocks, and paperwork carried on the tray in a large hospital or other facility. An active RFID tag 500 may be placed on each tray 10, 110, 210 to easily identify its position anywhere in the facility. A bar code (or passive RFID tag) 502 may be placed on each slide and/or paraffin block, and another bar code (or passive RFID tag) 504 may be placed on the tray 10, 110, 210. The data of the tray, glass slides, paraffin blocks, and paperwork may be scanned together and linked to the information of the active RFID of the tray 10, 110, 210 for tracking purposes. This will allow for the ability to find the tray 10, 110, 210 in the hospital or other facility quickly to locate the associated glass slides, paraffin blocks, or paperwork on the tray 10, 110, 210. This hybrid design overcomes the shortcomings of battery power requirements for active RFID and limited distance for passive RFID. The trays and tray system according to an aspect of the present invention may also be designed to interface with machines that sort, organize, search, and store the slides and paraffin blocks.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. It is understood that the features of various implementing aspects may be combined to form further aspects of the invention. The words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.