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All renal, skin, oral and conjunctiva specimens that require immunofluorescence investigation should be placed into gel transport medium or Zeus transport medium. These specimens should not be placed into Formalin as this technique cannot be performed on fixed tissue. Gel/Zeus transport medium is available on request from our specimen reception.

All gel/Zeus tubes should be labelled with the appropriate patient information as detailed in our specimen acceptance policy. Immunofluorescence will not be performed on high risk or potentially high risk specimens due to the health and safety risk it poses to staff.

Renal Biopsy

All renal biopsies should be transported to the laboratory immediately to enable urgent processing of the specimen. All specimens placed into gel transport medium for immunofluorescence should be stored in the fridge if immediate transport to the laboratory in unavailable. Samples in Zeus medium should remain at room temperature

Native Biopsies

Where possible, two cores of native renal tissue should be obtained to enable investigation into native renal disease. A good quality core of renal tissue is required for routine histology investigations and should be placed in an appropriately labelled container of 10% Formalin. The second core should be placed into gel transport medium for immunofluorescence, or Zeus medium, however if there is any uncertainty regarding the adequacy of the sample then both cores should be placed in Formalin.

Transplant Biopsies

Patients who have had their transplant for less than 3 months:

  • Two cores, if possible, and both placed into 10% Formalin.

Patients who have had their transplant for more than 3 months:

  • Treat as native biopsy (see above).

Pregnancy remains

The emergency gynaecology unit is based at Wythenshawe. However, pregnancy remains for Adult Histology will be accepted from MFT patients admitted to St Mary’s and triaged as appropriate. It is important to ensure that the request form and PS1 form is completed fully to prevent undue delay and distress to the patient following the loss of a pregnancy. If documentation is incomplete, it may be necessary for the sender to contact the patient to confirm details.

Requests for Post Mortems (PM) on pregnancy remains that are over 12 weeks gestation should be sent to Paediatric Mortuary with consent and clinical history. All pregnancy remains sent to Adult Histopathology must have an accompanying fully completed PS1 form.


Please notify the laboratory of all limb amputations at the earliest opportunity on 0161 276 8808.

Haematological Cancer Diagnostics (HCD)

All Histology HCD samples should be fixed in 10% buffered formalin and labelled clearly with the correct patient identifiers in accordance with the departments acceptance policy.

The request should be entered onto the HOD system and allocated a unique HODS number at the clinic where the specimen has been taken.

These must be sent directly to Central Specimen Reception (CSR) on the ground floor of the Clinical Sciences Building, ORC.

Ophthalmic Pathology

Ophthalmic pathology forms part of Adult Histopathology and provides a diagnostic service in Ophthalmic Histopathology and Cytopathology. It is one of four laboratories within England making up the National Specialist Ophthalmic Pathology Service (NSOPS).

The laboratory aims to provide a high quality and timely service with provision of expertise in diagnosis using an appropriate range of techniques including histology, cytology, immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy. Specimen requirements differ depending on the investigations required.

More information can be found in the Ophthalmic Histopathology user guide.

Biobank and Cellular Pathology Research

Research and Innovation at MFT offers a biobank and cellular pathology research service. The biobank and research teams provide a high quality and not-for-profit sourcing, storage, preparation and analysis of human biological samples service. We support clinical trials and research projects led by the NHS, universities and commercial partners. As part of the NHS, the biobank and research teams aim to improve people’s health by providing a valuable resource to researchers wanting to understand the development and genetic links of disease.

The biobank offer the following services:

  • Banked samples
  • Sample collection
  • Pre-analytics and storage services
  • Extraction and analysis

Cellular pathology research offers the following services:

  • Processing, paraffin embedding and sectioning of fixed tissue
  • Electron microscopy (subject to requirements)
  • Frozen sectioning of fresh tissue samples
  • Immunohistochemistry (IHC) including single and dual staining
  • Antibody optimisation for IHC
  • Chromogenic in-situ hybridisation (CISH)
  • Silver in-situ hybridisation (SISH)
  • Standard H&E and special staining techniques
  • Pathological review

All biobank and research requests require a formal application. For more information please contact the relevant department.

Biobank: 0161 701 1890

Histology Research: 0161 276 8814


The Adult Immunohistochemistry Laboratory is situated on the ground floor of the Cadet building, in clinical sciences, and provides IHC testing for both our ISO accredited histology and cytopathology services. We currently house four automated Ventana BenchMark Ultra staining machines which we use to carry out our routine clinical work. We currently hold a repertoire of over 150 antibodies, listed on our Antibody Repertoire List and are enrolled in the UKNEQAS ICC quality assurance scheme.

Any clinician wishing to request specific immunohistochemistry antibody markers should discuss this with the reporting pathologist. It is not appropriate to contact the laboratory directly to request IHC.

The laboratory is the regional referral centre for Diagnostic Mismatch Repair (MMR) testing, working alongside the genetics department in St Mary’s Hospital for genetic testing referrals.  Requests should be directed to the IHC laboratory.  Clinical trial material requests and research projects are also processed in the department.

For more information see Immunohistochemistry.

Electron Microscopy

The Cellular Pathology Electron Microscopy (EM) Service is situated on the Ground Floor of Clinical Sciences Building 1 at Manchester Royal Infirmary. It provides a high quality adult and paediatric diagnostic transmission electron microscopy service for MFT and for several external Trusts nationwide. The unit is open and staffed from 08:00 – 17:15 Monday to Friday (except bank holidays).

Approximately 90% of the samples handled are renal. Electron microscopy is routinely carried out on both native renal biopsies and longstanding renal transplant biopsies. For all other specimen types, electron microscopy will be undertaken at the specific request of the reporting Consultant Histopathologist. If the user would specifically like to request electron microscopy on a specimen, an appropriate Consultant Histopathologist must be contacted prior to biopsy. For any other information please contact the Lead Biomedical Scientist for Electron Microscopy on 0161 701 0795 or 0161 276 8806.

Current or prospective service users external to the Trust can find more information in the Electron Microscopy user guide.


The department regularly receives requests for expert/second opinion from other hospitals. Similarly, the department also refers cases to other services for expert opinion, diagnostic services and in response to service pressures. The following are the most commonly used.

Type Address
Lymphomas Via the HCD partnership with The Christie.
Reporting/Vacancy cover Source LDPath
1st Floor, Cornwell House
21 Clerkenwell Green
London EC1R 0DX

Source BioScience
1 Orchard Place
Nottingham Business Park
Nottingham NG8 6PX

Reporting/Vacancy cover Diagnexia
Exeter Science Park Centre,
6 Babbage Way,
Laboratory services Cellular Pathology Services
Orbital 25 Business Park
Dwight Road
WD18 9DA
Genetics Manchester Centre for Genetic Medicine
6th Floor, St Mary’s Hospital, Oxford Road, Manchester
M13 9WL


(Last reviewed March 2023)