Cell banking is the process of collecting, storing, and preserving cells for future use. It holds immense potential in the realm of medicine. From treating debilitating diseases to regenerating damaged tissues, cell banking offers a glimmer of hope for countless individuals. This guide will delve into the steps involved in the protection of these priceless resources.
Step 1: Cell Collection
The journey of cell banking begins with the collection of cells from various sources, including:
- Cord blood: Collected from the umbilical cord and placenta after childbirth, cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells, which are capable of differentiating into various cell types.
- Bone marrow: Found within spongy inner bone tissue, bone marrow harbors a diverse population of stem cells, including mesenchymal stem cells, known for their regenerative potential.
- Peripheral blood: Circulating in the bloodstream, peripheral blood also contains stem cells, albeit in lower numbers compared to cord blood and bone marrow.
Step 2: Cell Processing
Once collected, the cells undergo a meticulous processing stage to ensure their viability and purity:
- Separation: The cells are separated from impurities and other blood components using specialized techniques such as centrifugation and density gradient centrifugation.
- Viability assessment: The cells are tested to determine their ability to divide and function properly, ensuring only viable cells are preserved.
- Characterization: The cells are characterized based on their surface markers and gene expression patterns to identify their specific type and potential applications.
Step 3: Cryopreservation
To preserve the cells for long-term storage, they are subjected to cryopreservation, which freezes them to extremely -130° C or lower. Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is typically added at this step to reduce ice crystal formation. This process halts cellular activity, preventing deterioration and enabling long-term preservation.
Step 4: Cell Storage
Cryopreserved cells are stored in liquid nitrogen tanks or cryogenic freezers, maintaining their frozen state and ensuring their stability over time. Liquid nitrogen (LN2) is maintained at an extremely low temperature, which provides a sufficiently cold environment for long-term cell preservation. Meanwhile, LN2 dewars are a minor capital investment option. Cryogenic freezers offer higher capacity over the long term. Although they require a higher initial capital expenditure, their operating costs are usually lower over time.
Step 5: Cell Thawing and Expansion
When cells are needed for therapeutic or research purposes, they are thawed and expanded in a culture vessel. This process allows the cells to multiply and reach enough for the intended use.
Throughout the cell banking process, stringent quality control measures are implemented to ensure the safety, efficacy, and identity of the cells. Rigorous testing procedures and meticulous documentation maintain the integrity of these delicate biological resources.
New cryogenic tools are available to reduce the number of passages or culture vessels required to reach appropriate cell densities and inoculate larger bioreactors up to 100L. An intensified seed train can result in the following process improvements:
- 10-25% reduction in consumables
- 32% reduction in labor hours
- 35% risk reduction due to contamination
- Up to 47% increase in productivity by executing more batches per year
We’re in the business of helping protect your cells, so if you need expertise for rapid development and scale-up of vaccines and therapeutics, explore our cell and gene therapy (CGT) approach.
In conjunction with our CGT expertise, Entegris has developed the Aramus™ line of single-use bags designed to handle the complexities involved in nurturing cells. Aramus™ single-use bags provide a tough exterior with lower particulates, along with maximum sample retrieval in a DMSO compatibly package, ensuring the best cell protection possible.
Cell banking stands at the forefront of medical advancement. By preserving cells for future use, we open a world of possibilities for regenerative medicine, personalized therapies, and groundbreaking research. As cell banking technologies continue to evolve, the potential to improve human health remains boundless.
Learn more about how we can help improve your cell banking process and provide the tools you need.