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New Fixatives with 15-Fold Lower Formaldehyde Concentration


Formalin has stood as the 'gold standard' fixative in pathology labs largely due to its high degree of accuracy, compatibility with downstream histological applications, low cost and ease of use.

Nevertheless, due to the associated health hazards of formaldehyde (1B carcinogen IARC), the search for formalin replacements has been on-going for years, further motivated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which encourages its replacement despite the listed benefits . The most well-known alternatives are alcohol-based fixatives, mostly based on ethanol or methanol at concentrations of 50% and higher. However, alcohols do not preserve tissue morphology as well as formaldehyde-based fixatives, the solutions are highly flammable, (neuro) toxic and ethanol possesses the same group 1 carcinogen classification as formaldehyde by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). 

Technology Overview

Leiden University Medical Center and Fix for Life BV have developed two low - hazardous fixatives which require no histopathology protocol adjustments (identical to neutral buffered formalin 10% protocol) and benefit from 10‑ to 15-fold lower concentration of hazardous formaldehyde and better yields and quality of extracted cDNA and RNA. Further PCR experiments are ongoing. 


Histopathology fixative for tissue samples

Key benefits

  • 10- to 15-fold lower concentration of hazardous formaldehyde.
  • No protocol adjustment required (identical to neutral buffered formalin 10% protocol) for fixation times, choice of antibodies, IHC and DNA / RNA isolation procedures.
  • Excellent yield and quality of extracted DNA and RNA.
  • Alternative fixative with stable and comparable diagnostic results.

Patent status

Trade secret.

Further information

Roisin Burton Holmes Business Developer +31-6-3831 0850