The upcoming Clinical Sciences Building will be home to LKCMedicine’s new Anatomy & Pathology Resource Centre. Taking pride of place in the new centre will be the 179 donated specimens from Imperial College London’s Pathology Museum. The specimens cover a wide range of conditions – from normal anatomy to pathological anatomy specimens, such as Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect. But before they are ready for display, the Laboratory team, with the help of two museum experts Joy Mathew (right) and Kiran Bangera (second left) from Yenepoya University, India, re-homed them into brand new museum-grade glass jars, known as pots.
The LKCMedicine spent a morning watching the team at work.
The securely wrapped pot is carefully unwrapped and opened. The specimen is retrieved and rinsed in water. To remove persistent stains, it is soaked in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes.
The new acrylic mounting plate for the specimen is cut to size. The specimen is carefully removed from the old plate, which is then used as a guide to drill holes in the new one.
Using clear nylon fishing line, the specimen is carefully secured to the acrylic plate. For thin or fragile tissues, an IV catheter needle is used to minimise damage to the tissue. For thick or tough tissues, standard surgical suturing needles are used.
The specimen is rinsed again with water, while the new pot is filled with a preserving glycerine solution for long-term display. The specimen is then gently lowered into the pot and any bubbles are brushed away.
The pot is topped up with preservation fluid. The sintered lip of the lid is moistened with water to create an air-tight seal. The specimen joins the other re-potted specimens awaiting their final journey to the Clinical Sciences Building later this year.
About the collection
Total number of specimens: 179
Largest pot: Ø20 x H40 cm, requiring 10-15l of preservation medium
Smallest pot: Ø8 x H6 cm, requiring around 300ml of preservation medium
Oldest specimen: 81 years old
Youngest specimen: 56 years old
Most unusual specimen: Transposition of the great vessels, with the aorta originating from the right ventricle and pulmonary trunk from the left ventricle (left)