Decellularisation of tendon tissue plays a pivotal role in current tissue engineering approaches for in vitro research as well as for the translation of graft based tendon restoration in clinics. Automation of the decellularisation steps such as freeze-thawing is crucial for the development of more standardised decellularisation protocols and commercial graft production under good manufacturing practice (GMP) conditions in the future. Decellularised tissues represent the ideal natural scaffold for many research applications in tissue science and hold great promise as possible transplants for medical applications. Decellularisation of tissues can be performed using physical, chemical and enzymatic methods but to achieve good results for the removal of cells with the conservation of the extracellular matrix, a combination of techniques needs to be explored for the different tissue types to find the optimal method.

Researchers at the Translational Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Leipzig in Germany recently demonstrated that the application of freeze-thaw cycles prior to treatment with detergents enhanced the effectiveness of the decellularisation procedure.  A new paper published in BMC Biotechnology by Susanne Roth, Sina Glauche, Janina Burk and others shows that using a controlled rate freezer gives precision and repeatability to the process.

Automated freeze-thaw cycles performed by the Planer Kryo 360 liquid nitrogen based controlled rate freezer were effective for the freeze-thaw procedures for decellularisation of equine superficial digital flexor tendons. The automation of this key procedure in decellularisation of large tendon samples is an important step towards the processing of large sample quantities under standardised and GMP conditions with a view to the production of commercially available tendon graft-based materials for application in human and veterinary medicine.

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