A Paradigm Shift in Biobanking: The Future of Cell Preservation Strategies

Once considered “old school,” cryopreservation is going through another scientific and technological development growth phase. Today’s new cryopreservation processes and products promise to deliver disruptive technologies to discovery science, stem cell research, diagnostics and personalized medicine; forever changing the future of cell preservation strategies.

Cell preservation has evolved from simple, often poorly annotated private collections of clinical specimens to highly organized and well-annotated collections maintained by commercial and not-for-profit organizations. Currently, the focus of cell preservation strategies is from government and international agencies on the activities of biobanks, specifically on the need to adopt best practices and to provide scientific, legal and ethical guidelines for the biopreservation industry. Cell preservationists still focus on fulfilling the immediate post-thaw viability needs of today’s researchers.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

Amazing Samples: T-cells

We’ve discussed white blood cells before.

Whether you look at tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, marrow-derived natural killer (NK) cells, or chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, lymphocytes in general have many different therapeutic applications that are currently being researched, especially in the field of oncology. However, these are all the more aggressive parts of the immune system, and even among a subclass as specific as T-cells, there are several other functions that we haven’t touched on.

Last time, on the Amazing Sample blog series, we discussed CNF and neural tissue. This time, let’s break down some of the ways T-cells can be amazing samples in their own right.

Topic: Cell Therapy Solutions, Topic: Amazing Samp..........

CRISPR-Cas9 is Revolutionizing Gene Editing

CRISPR-Cas is a gene editing technology that is revolutionizing the biotech industry. In 2012, two researchers were performing basic research when they inadvertently discovered a gene editing technology that forever changes how scientists edit genes.

Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna were trying to gain a better understanding of the system that bacteria use to defend themselves against viruses. The researchers noticed that bacterial systems could slice out specific sections of DNA with incredible precision. The team then realized that, with the correct programming, the system could also replace a specific section with new DNA – in essence, the bacteria were performing gene editing on their own DNA in a better way than scientists were doing it in the laboratories.

Topic: Laboratory Processing, Topic: Cell Therapy ..........

Amazing Samples: Neurons and Brain Cells and Fluids - oh my!

Did you know ancient Egyptians used to remove corpses’ brains when mummifying their deceased? I remember being taught at a young age that it was because the civilization did not value the brain as an organ, but it turns out that’s far from the truth. Not only were there many different factors that could affect excerebration, but the ancient Egyptians were the first recorded civilization to study the actual anatomy of the brain, even hypothesizing the communicative function of the spinal cord… But we’re not here to discuss antiquity.

In modern day, we more definitively know that the brain is the seat of both thought and emotion, and have better learned how little we actually know of its functionality. From a macroscopic perspective, we can study how the different areas of the brain and central nervous system respond to any number of stimuli: music, foreign languages, food, even bad dreams. But focusing on a smaller scale can uncover the mystery of how the greater machine works, and how it can even be assisted and improved.

Last time on our Amazing Samples blog series, we took a look at the research being put into eyes. Today, let’s feel out some of the ways neural tissue can be an Amazing Sample.

Topic: Cell Therapy Solutions, Topic: Amazing Samp..........

24 Hours of Stem Cells: Advancing Medicine Virtually

Stem cell research is one of the fastest growing areas in science. This is largely due to its immense potential to impact the future of medicine and how we treat diseases. Whether in basic research or cell therapy applications, Thermo Fisher Scientific is committed to the expansion of this field.

To help facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration, Thermo Fisher Scientific is hosting the 3rd Annual 24 Hours of Stem Cells event - the day the world revolves around stem cells.

Topic: Cell Therapy Solutions, Content: Blog

Amazing Samples: The Window to the Soul

I’m not sure about you, but the only time I really think about what’s in my eyes is when I sit up quickly and end up seeing floaters. Well, that, and any time I think about having crystals at the head of my optic nerves… but the American Academy of Ophthalmology says there’s nothing to worry about too much.

However, just as with any other part of the body, eyes have a wealth of information, and some interesting treatments have come up around them. Last time in our Amazing Samples blog series, we discussed curry the interesting applications of bone marrow research – this time, let’s take a long hard gander at ocular research.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

A New Class of Immunotherapeutics: Using Oncolytic Viruses to Treat Cancer

Scientists have noted the ability of viruses to kill tumor cells for almost a century but have been unable to document the therapeutic use of these viruses in patients with cancer. Interest in this approach is growing, supported by advancing knowledge of viral biology, molecular genetics and tumor immunology. Oncolytic virus immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses viruses to replicate within cancer cells.

In this blog, we’ll briefly explore how viruses, specifically oncolytic viruses, are being used to treat cancer.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

Developing Immunotherapies for Cell-Based vs. Non Cell-Based Therapies

Immunotherapies harness the power of the body's own defense mechanism, the immune system, to combat disease. They were initially introduced in the form of non cell-based biologics and vaccines, such as the splurge of products known as the check-point inhibitors designed to target the PD1/PD-L1 immune pathway. An individual would be injected with a weakened form of a virus, exposing the body to the disease and prompting the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the infection from the live virus. In recent years, immunotherapies are expanding into the realm of cell and gene therapy. Cell therapy includes re-engineering the T-cell or immune cells and re-delivering these cells back the patient to treat the cancer.

Both cell-based therapies and non cell-based therapies are developed as immunotherapies and therefore they share some similar challenges in development. However, due to the nature of cell-based therapies manufacturing complexities, there are several additional challenges that must be considered. In this blog we'll take a closer look as some of the challenges that cell-based and non-cell based therapies face, and why cell-based therapies are so complex.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cold-C..........

Amazing Samples: Bone Marrow

When I was young, my father tried to teach me to eat everything put on my plate (though it was an uphill battle, since I was quite the finicky child). One of the few “bizarre” foods that I took a liking to, though, was sucking the marrow out of goat, lamb, or beef curries (my father was clearly not a devout Hindu). Even now, it’s one of my favorite parts of such dishes, and I recently added San Diego to my travel wish list if just to eat swordfish marrow (thanks for the tip, Andrew Zimmern).

But that’s clearly not what we’re going to talk about right now. Everyone knows that human bone marrow is rich in stem cells, specifically hematopoietic. In fact, without research on bone marrow, stem cells might not be as well understood, and accordingly we might not have reached the current burgeoning development in the cell therapy field. Last time in our Amazing Samples blog series, we discussed the value of adipose tissue cells. This time, let’s savor the rich history of bone marrow research.

… Man, I should cook some curry.

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

The Other Glass Ceiling: Maintaining Cell Therapies at -135°C

Maintaining biological materials used in cell therapies at temperatures lower than -135°C is much more complicated than simply freezing samples.

The goal of cryopreservation is to prepare stocks of cells for preservation and storage, which prevents the need to maintain all cell lines in culture all the time. Cryogenic storage is especially valuable when dealing with cells presenting a limited lifespan. Even though the technique keeps cells and tissues at very low temperatures, advanced cryopreservation strategies are required to keep these cells viable after thawing. Cryopreservation techniques and equipment focus on bringing samples to very low temperatures without causing additional damage from the formation of ice and other effects of storing living matter at sub-zero temperatures. 

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

Biobanking for Biologics and Cell Therapies: All Biobanks Are Not the Same

Until recently, most biorepositories were primarily used for archival sample storage. Researchers would generate large sample collections for research with a broad idea of how they would or could be used.  Although this required expert temperature monitoring while in storage at biorepositories, it did not demand a lot of transactional activity, debits and credits from the inventory, as there was no defined use for the sample.

However, in the last ten years the industry landscape has evolved. With the introduction of advanced biotherapeutics and personalized medicine, biorepositories have transformed from archival storage facilities into true biobanks where the overall workflow now includes numerous complex transactions. Many of these transactions are associated with adding value through an integrated workflow that seamlessly connects the sponsor, bio-manufacturer, clinical center, and patient into a tandem, well-coordinated process chain. Additionally, in some instances sample collections are developed with a more targeted end-use in mind, resulting in smaller inventories.

Let’s explore the expanded focus across our industry from biorepositories for traditional research (biospecimens) to biobanking for therapeutic components (biologics and cell therapies).

Topic: Biobanking and Biorepository, Topic: Cell T..........

Cell Therapy Clinical Trials: Navigating the operational shift from Phase 1 to Phase 2

When navigating through the various phases of a cell therapy clinical trial, it's important that each phase "sets the stage" for those which follow. All activities that take place in Phase 1 will ultimately impact Phase 2, and so on through to commercialization. This blog will focus on the operational shift from Phase 1 to Phase 2 and the associated challenges with doing so.

Topic: Cell Therapy Solutions, Topic: Kit Producti..........