The objective of the GENIALE project (Engineering an electro-mechanical system for the automatic execution and interpretation of biological analyses through a scanner and an integrated processor) is the realization of an innovative system for the automatic execution and interpretation of biological analyses, capable of integrating a sub-system for the preparation of slides with a sub-system for their subsequent scanning and analysis.
Indirect immunofluorescence (IFA) is one of the most widely used immunology techniques for the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases. It consists in detecting the presence of specific unknown antigens or antibodies whose known counterpart is variously linked to a marker. The marker is a fluorochrome (usually fluorescein) which, by absorbing ultraviolet rays, emits green light, observable through a conventional microscope. In the analysis method, a sample, suitably diluted with a phosphate buffer or saline solution, is put in contact with known antigens on a dedicated area of a slide, termed well. The analysis method consists in the preparation of one or more slides (each containing a set of wells), the application of slide covers, and the interpretation of slides through a microscope.
Presently, this procedure is carried out in manual mode, totally or in part, requiring the continuous presence of an operator and long times to complete the analyses. In particular, the operations of preparing the slides, applying the slide covers, and moving the slides to the microscope section are manual.
The GENIALE project aims to automate the entire process of diagnostic analysis of autoimmune diseases, creating a fully automatic device. To this end, the project aims to engineer a prototype system that supports not only the preparation of slides but also their complete scanning, automatic interpretation, and digital archiving. The final product thus constitutes a highly innovative system compared to those currently on the market, contributing significantly to the improvement of the organizational processes adopted in the analysis laboratories and supporting traceability of each performed operation, optimization of execution times, remote diagnosis, reduction of operating costs and space needed.