A recent paper sets out the options for cryopreservation of cell therapies now and gives pointers to future research. Prof Barry Fuller et al summarise (Cell and Gene, Therapy Insights, June '17)  the applications of cryopreservation technologies to cellular therapeutics and their delivery. The ability to hold products in readiness for logistical, regulatory or potency reasons is highlighted and it usually involves cryopreservation. However, cryopreservation itself poses biological and biophysical challenges to living cells that need to be understood in order to apply the low temperature technologies to their best advantage. 

The review sets out the history of applied cryopreservation, current understanding of the various processes involved in storage at cryogenic temperatures, and the challenges for the reliable uses of cryopreservation within cell therapy. The authors include observations on slow freezing: "Successful cryopreservation was also found to be influenced by the kinetics of the cooling process itself. As often practiced today, slow cooling (where slow as a relative term applies to cooling rates of between about -0.3 Deg C min-1 and -2 Deg C min-1) were found by empirical observation to relate to good success." And in another section:  " ....as other cell therapies have entered the arena within the broad area of hematopoietic stem cell replacement, slow cooling cryopreservation has maintained its beneficial role, but with some addition to detail in terms of protocol management."

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