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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2006 Jun;130(6):817-22.

Cruella: developing a scalable tissue microarray data management system.

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Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8023, USA.



Compared with DNA microarray technology, relatively little information is available concerning the special requirements, design influences, and implementation strategies of data systems for tissue microarray technology. These issues include the requirement to accommodate new and different data elements for each new project as well as the need to interact with pre-existing models for clinical, biological, and specimen-related data.


To design and implement a flexible, scalable tissue microarray data storage and management system that could accommodate information regarding different disease types and different clinical investigators, and different clinical investigation questions, all of which could potentially contribute unforeseen data types that require dynamic integration with existing data.


The unpredictability of the data elements combined with the novelty of automated analysis algorithms and controlled vocabulary standards in this area require flexible designs and practical decisions. Our design includes a custom Java-based persistence layer to mediate and facilitate interaction with an object-relational database model and a novel database schema. User interaction is provided through a Java Servlet-based Web interface.


Cruella has become an indispensable resource and is used by dozens of researchers every day. The system stores millions of experimental values covering more than 300 biological markers and more than 30 disease types. The experimental data are merged with clinical data that has been aggregated from multiple sources and is available to the researchers for management, analysis, and export.


Cruella addresses many of the special considerations for managing tissue microarray experimental data and the associated clinical information. A metadata-driven approach provides a practical solution to many of the unique issues inherent in tissue microarray research, and allows relatively straightforward interoperability with and accommodation of new data models.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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