Cell Disk: Tool for Faster, More Efficient Biopsy Processing

Cell Disk is a novel method for performing cytological and histological processing of patient biopsies that minimizes cell loss and allows for immediate processing of the cell block.


Fine needle aspirate (FNA) biopsies are a commonly accepted method for extracting tissue specimen. The tissues or cells are collected and mounted to produce a cell block to be used for histological and cytological testing.

Current methods are hindered by cell loss during specimen processing, resulting in a limited amount of tissue for analysis. Insufficient tissue collection produces costly subsequent testing and can potentially result in inaccurate diagnoses.


Researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine have developed Cell Disk, a device that collects cell samples taken during fine needle aspirate biopsies. Cell Disk features an innovative design, which minimizes cell loss and allows for immediate processing of the cell block.

The technology features a paraffin stage configured to fit onto a standard laboratory conical vial in which the specimen is deposited. The stage of cells is removable for use in histological and cytological analysis for biopsy of suspicious lesions and for performing pap smear testing of cervical tissue. Cell Disk can also be used to concentrate cell suspensions for further applications.

Competitive Benefits

  • Cell Disk is a sterile, simpler design that fits into a standard 50 mL conical vial.
  • This device streamlines biopsy analysis by eliminating unnecessary bulky processing systems.
  • Cell Disk allows for added sample planes to section through.
  • This device is inexpensive and eliminates large capital equipment investments.
  • Large potential market of suppliers (hospitals, research institutes and pathology labs) exists for this innovation.

Application Fields

  • Collection of fine needle aspirate biopsies for histological and cytological analysis.
  • Concentration of cells in suspension taken from pap-smear fluid, urine, spinal fluid, thoracic fluid, bone marrow specimen, etc.
  • Effective means of sample collection and transport from external sources.

Stage of Development

  • A prototype of the biopsy tool has been tested on surgical pathology specimens in Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Cytopathology laboratory.
  • Preliminary data show improved overall sample collection when compared to standard practice fine needle aspiration processes.


Shaozhou Ken Tian, MD, Pathology
Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Kim R. Geisinger, MD, Pathology
UNC Chapel Hill Medical Center


US Patent 9557251

Licensing Contact

John Druga

Reference #: 12-47

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