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Retriever Products

Why choose the Retriever?

Why choose the Retriever?

​​​​​​“…the key word about Retriever is reproducibility. Due to fully automatic processing the stainings are always the same, whether they are done within a few hours or a few months apart…”

Not only for diagnostics, but also for research (and perhaps especially for research pathology), standardization of staining is the key word.

Retriever instrumentation that enables epitope retrieval by the push of a button, has been created precisely to assure standard staining. In contrast to simple “pressure-cookers”, Retriever allows proper recovery of epitopes on formalin-fixed (routine pathology sections) while preserving tissue morphology, shapes of cells, shape of the cell's nucleus, and always giving you the same quality and degree of fixed tissue recovery.

Since its launch in 2006 it has been further refined, and today may well be the most advanced and recommended epitope recovery unit.


Retriever is more than a “pressure cooker”. A chip on board the machine controls the profile of heating, pressure and the length of the cycle optimal for most of the routine formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissues. Routine pathology tissues may differ quite substantially by the degree of fixation, temperature during embedding, etc. The Retriever is the result of over 10 years of work on the optimization of the parameters for the best method of unmasking of the antigens in a wide variety of tissues.


First, Retriever requires no special training. Even a new trainee in the lab can use it. Second, it allows simultaneously using several different buffers (often some of your antibodies require citrate buffer, other – acid citrate or – EDTA) within one cycle, in one machine. Third, it gives high reproducibility of results, which allows comparsions of stainings performed at two widely-spaced time points. Fourth, it is very reliable. Since first production only 2 machines have had to be replaced. So you can expect many years of uninterrupted work with Retriever.



Proper epitope recovery may be critical for your conclusions on protein expression. The pictures show staining for E-cadherin on human small intestine tissue without processing in Retriever (top) and with the processing on Retriever (bottom).

Using Retriever

Using Retriever

The solution for antigen unmasking

Our Unique Retriever solves the problem associated with staining formalin fixed tissues. It is an affordable solution to all known major problems with immunohistochemistry on paraffin sections. Ease of use combined with high reproducibility of the results will help you achieve the best quality immunostaining. The Retriever is a bench-top model for thermally processing slides of formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded tissues prior to immunostaining.​​​

The model has been designed to ensure identical processing of all the samples during a processing cycle, as well as the identical processing of the samples in individual sessions. The Retriever preserves processed tissues.

How does the Retriever work?

It looks like a pressure cooker, and basically it is an advanced pressure cooker. People ask sometimes what temperature and pressure are used (to compare it with some other pressure cooker). However, this information will not be helpful, because the key factor is not what temperature and pressure it reaches, but, rather, how the heating profile is dictated by a microchip controlling the process, and how the proper heating profile is tested during production for every individual unit of the Retriever. Sensors control the heating profile controlling the temperature and pressure to be reached at a certain pace and over a certain time period. When the required temperature is reached, it will be held for several minutes. After that the slides are cooled for 2 hours. Specially designed thermal walls of the unit control the speed of cooling of the inner chamber and slides. This is an important stage of the process as well: it gives proteins a chance to re-fold some domains after the processing.

With Retriever you can

  • Run antigen unmasking in up to 6 different buffers in one cycle. This is very important when you are trying to find the most appropriate buffer for epitope recovery or need to process the same tissue in different buffers for different antibodies.
  • Use a minimal quantity of processing buffer (thus always using a fresh one without high cost, and not jeopardising the identical processing and thus identical staining on tissues from different cycles).
  • Recover the epitope of interest for a strong staining while preserving the tissue and cell morphology (quite important in diagnostic pathology).
  • Get identical results every time even in experiments that are performed months apart. This is especially critical for retrospective research that involves IHC on large collections of tissues that may not be all available at once. Using Retriever gives you the confidence that all stainings will be performed on identically retrieved sections
  • Just do it. Load the sections, pour the buffer, close the lid and push the button. No training, no “tricks of the trade”, no waiting when the diagnostic pathology has time to do it for you.
  • Use either standard Citrate of EDTA buffers, or our buffers (new Universal set of buffers arrives this fall).
  • No worries that the machine will stop working. This only happened twice in the history of Retriever, and both times it was the result of improper usage. In any case, you have a full year of replacement guarantee.

Who would benefit from using our Retriever?

  • Investigative Pathology, where the high quality of staining (a picture may be published!) is required.
  • Any lab that is short on technical personnel: any student or post-doc can process slides for the staining with little time requirements.
  • Small routine pathology labs, where a limited number of slides should be processed daily.
  • Anyone who uses highly valuable samples, such as tissue arrays or unique tissue samples.
  • Simplicity and reliability of the unit ensures the safety of your sample, and a high quality antigen unmasking.


Quick Start Guide
Retrivere Scheme



Retriever preserves tissue morphology

Due to the properly adjusted pressure/heating cycle the Retriever does not allow boiling of the buffer in chambers, thus preventing formation of the air bubbles that affect tissue morphology. On the images below we show unprocessed intestinal tissue, tissue processed in microwave (the standard result) and tissue processed in the Retriever. Please note that even the mucus produced by intestinal cells remains fully unaffected and the cells have the proper morphology, with the shape of the cell walls and of the nucleus exactly the same as in unprocessed section.


This is a section of intestinal tissue fixed with formalin and embedded into paraffin.


Processing the tissue in microwave-type machines results in damage of the morphology of the delicate tissues.


No damage to morphology occurs, however, after processing the tissue in Retriever, although the unmasking is usually better than after the microwave.

Excellent Staining and Excellent Tissue Morphology

Unaffected morphology of tissues processed in Retriever does not mean poor processing. As you can see on the images below cell surface antigens, as well as nuclear ones are well detected by antibodies. On the left you can see a test staining of cervix tissue with anti-E-cadherin antibody, below are stainings for CD8, Ki67 and PCNA. Different buffers were used for each (citrate, acid citrate or EDTA). Please note the preservation of morphology and the intensity of staining without background.


​CD8 (mAb)

Infiltrating cytotoxic CD8+ T- cells were detected in formalin fixed, paraffin embedded section of human intestine after antigen unmasking in Retriever. Buffer B was used for processing.


​PCNA (mAb)

Marker for proliferating cells is shown for cells of human intestine. Note the morphology of the tissue that is completely unchanged by processing.


Ki-67 (antibody MIB1)

Routine proliferation marker detected on formalin-fixed paraffin embedded section of human intestine. Please note the strong nuclear staining, extremely clean background (no non-specific binding of the antibody) and excellent morphology of the tissue including the preservation of the mucosal secret in the cells and undamaged membranes. Buffer A was used for processing.