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First birth in Italy from cryopreserved ovarian tissue transplanted to a cancer patient

Raffaella FabbriThe Italian press reports that a woman gave birth, to a son from stored cryopreserved ovarian tissue retrieved while she was fighting cancer – the first such report from Italy.

Back in 2012 doctors told the woman, from Brescia and who is now thirty-five years old, that she had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She went to the Sant'Orsola hospital in Bologna for the removal of ovarian tissue, via anaesthesia and laparoscopy. The tissue was cryo stored with the aim of fertility restoration after her treatment of chemo- and radio-therapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation.

In an increasingly common procedure, the tissue is immersed in cryo-protectant solutions and is frozen in a series of cooling steps in a Planer controlled rate freezer, before being transferred for storage in a liquid nitrogen tank at -196 ℃. The controlled rate and gradual lowering of the temperature during the freezing helps the viability of the tissue post thaw.

In 2016 Raffaella Fabbri published a paper in The Journal of Ovarian Research, concluding that " ...ovarian tissue stored for 18 years showed a good morphology post thaw..."  and that long term storage does not impact tissue preservation.

With this patient, as is common, the outcome of the cancer treatment resulted in premature menopause and infertility. Four years later, after having recovered, she returned to Sant’Orsola hospital for reimplantation of thawed ovarian tissue. The team of specialists carefully transplanted a few pieces of tissue on both remaining ovaries. The first reimplantation showed few signs of recovery, so a second implant was undertaken and within two months a menstrual cycle reappeared, and a pregnancy was achieved two months later.

Raffaella Fabbri, pictured here, is the embryologist responsible for the ovarian tissue cryopreservation procedure at Sant'Orsola hospital along with biologists Dr Rossella Vicenti and Dr Maria Macciocca; Renato Seracchioli is the surgeon who carried out the actual reimplantation. To date, this technique has resulted in over 130 births from oncological patients worldwide.

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Bologna, tessuto ovarico crionconservato. Combatte il tumore e diventa mamma
Long-term storage does not impact the quality of cryopreserved human ovarian tissue







Society for Low Temperature Biology Meeting - Prague

Society for Low Temperature Biology Meeting - Prague, 2018

Planer recently supported the 2018 Society for Low Temperature Biology meeting which took place at the Crop Research Institute, Prague, Czech Republic on the 6th and 7th September 2018.

Society for Low Temperature Biology Prague 2018The meeting was attended by international experts in cryopreservation from a large variety of different fields including human biology, research and plant cryopreservation. The presentations introduced the latest work on cryopreservation techniques relating to a wide range of topics. Of particular interest during the meeting were two reports, one on the impact of EU legislation on cryopreservation technologies and then a summary of the inaugural meeting of a working group looking into transportation and storage of cells and tissue at sub normothermic temperatures. Amongst a varied and interesting program there were also a couple of updates from the teams in Belgium and Spain trying to improve the outcomes from cryopreservation of ovarian tissue which has led to over 130 births worldwide using slow frozen ovarian tissue samples.

The event included a conference dinner held at the Museum of Agriculture followed by a guided tour of Prague on a traditional tram.

The Society for Low Temperature Biology (SLTB) was founded in 1964 with the purpose of promoting research into the effects of low temperatures on all types of organisms and their constituent cells, tissues and organs. Such studies have applications in diverse scientific fields, from biology and medicine to engineering, conservation and environmental science. 

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Society for Low Temperature Biology (SLTB)

A new paper on best practices for cryopreserving, thawing, recovering, and assessing cells

In vitro cellular development biologyDuring the past half-century, the fundamentals of the science of cryobiology have evolved to the point where low temperatures are now used extensively as a means to protect and preserve biological systems during enforced periods of ischemia and hypoxia. In practice, preservation is achieved using either hypothermia without freezing or cryopreservation in which the aqueous system sustains a physical phase change with the formation of ice. Survival of cells from the rigors of freezing and thawing in cryopreservation procedures is only attained by using appropriate cryoprotective agents, and in general, these techniques are applicable to isolated cells in suspension or small aggregates of cells in simple tissues.

As efforts continue to work to standardize and optimize work flow related to the use of biologics in clinical and research settings, a working group of experts from academia and industry was convened to author a series of Best Practices articles covering a series of specific area in cell culture.  One such article, written by Drs. J.M. Baust, L.H. Campbell and J.W. Harbell, addressed the topic of "Best Practices for Cryopreserving, Thawing, Recovering, and Assessing Cells".  

Baust et al. introduce the subject: “Long term storage of cell stocks insures that cells are available for use whenever needed. Cryopreservation of cells is the method of choice for preservation of important or rare cell stocks. There are several factors to consider when establishing a protocol for freezing, thawing and recovery of cells after storage. These parameters may include cell concentration, cryoprotectant choice and concentration, and thawing rate among others. Further, the assessment of cell viability and/or function prior to and following cryopreservation is imperative in order to accurately determine downstream utility as well for optimizing the cryopreservation process." 

The authors continue: “In addition to the physical impacts of freezing (ice formation, solute concentration and freeze induced dehydration) … there is also a biochemical/molecular based impact. … a result of several factors including (1) a decrease in available energy and metabolic activity, (2) biochemical pathway uncoupling and (3) activation of stress response pathways. The manifestation of this sub-lethal damage may not be evident immediately after thawing but may take several hours to days to be detected.” All these factors affect the overall survival of cells.  

Summarizing the goal of the article, Baust et al state: “This chapter is designed to provide guidance and insight into developing robust and successful protocols for preserving cells that will preserve cell stocks and provide optimal cell yield and viability.” 

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In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal

Workshop at Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society Annual Meeting

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation for fertility, with a success rate around 30% after transplantation of frozen-thawed ovarian cortex, has had some 130 live births reported to date.

The workshop on September 12th 2018 in Montreal aimed to provide an overview on cryopreservation and transplantation of human ovarian tissue. Talks were given of how the team started and organized their ovarian tissue cryobank, and also how they prepare, freeze and thaw biopsies and perform ovarian tissue transplantation.

A hands-on practice session on cryopreservation was given so participants could get a feel for new alternatives procedures, such as ovarian tissue freezing and in vitro culture/xenografting. The course, planned for 15 people was 100% oversubscribed with over thirty attendees.

Pictured here is Prof Christiani Amorim during her Canadian ovarian tissue transplantation course.

For further information
Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society
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ACE 2018 - Goa, India

In the balmy environment of Goa in August, the 7th Annual Conference of Academy of Clinical Embryologists was held at the Holiday Inn Resort. The conference attracted over 250 delegates from around the globe, along with some of the world’s leading Embryologists presenting a variety of topics; this was accompanied by an exhibitor’s hall with stands from over 50 sponsors.

The key speakers were put through their paces, with talks running constantly that each ended with some knowledgeable question and answer sessions. The venue was perfect, giving the delegates easy access to the exhibition hall and the opportunities to take their time to talk to industry specialists about their equipment and consumable needs. ACE organisers provided an array of refreshments along with some of the best Indian food. The gala evening was also a major hit, giving all the delegates and exhibitors a chance to socialise in a relaxed atmosphere with music and dancing,  all washed down with much needed 'cold' drinks ...

Planer supported our local distributor, ShineLife, by helping exhibit our much anticipated CT37stax™ Benchtop Incubator. The product generated a lot of interest and after talking to many embryologists, it quickly became clear that the CT37stax™ is set to change the way people set up their laboratories. With extra workspace within labs at a premium, the creation of a high capacity, compact incubator has answered many of the delegates' dreams. 

The ACE 2018 Goa conference was a huge success, having made old relationships stronger and forging new ones with many people within the industry.


ASRM - Let's catch up on Stand 327

The 2018 Scientific Congress for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) will be taking place in Denver, a thriving city, idyllically situated at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, between the 6th - 10th October.

The theme for this year's conference is “Focus on the Next Generation" and will demonstrate technological advances in reproductive care as well as cutting edge research. The programme should be of interest to a wide range of practitioners in the field including andrology and embryology laboratory teams.

Do come and see the Planer team on Hamilton Thorne's stand. Hamilton Thorne are our US Human Fertility Distributor - and we are delighted to be joining them to help exhibit our latest CT37stax™ benchtop incubator and our DATAssure™ laboratory wireless alarm and monitory system.

If you would like to arrange an appointment in advance to discuss our benchtop incubators or our alarms and monitoring products, please get in touch. We would be pleased to hear from you.


Another Successful Course in Cryopreservation and Transplantation of Ovarian Tissue

Cryopreservations course at UCL Louvain

The 8th course cryopreservation and transplantation of human ovarian tissue took place at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Brussels, Belgium on the 26th and 27th June 2018. Christiani Amorim and the UCL team, who have worked for many years on researching and developing the techniques required for the successful cryopreservation and transplantation of ovarian tissue, ran the course.

A record number of participants from many different countries around the world attended, including India, Czech Republic, Croatia, Malaysia, UK, Vietnam, Brazil and Turkey demonstrating that this technique is growing in popularity.

The team at the University use a Planer cryogenic freezer, the Kryo 360 -1.7, to perform the cryopreservation of the ovarian tissue as this freezer has been proven to provide consistent, successful results. There are now many centres around the world that have reported the benefits of slow freezing when cryopreserving ovarian tissue and Planer are proud to be associated with this important technique that can result in many women going on to have children, sometimes naturally, even after cancer treatment.

Christiani and the team are already planning further courses including a workshop at the annual meeting of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society in Montreal on Sept 12th, 2018.

For further information
8th course on cryopreservation and transplantation of human ovarian tissue - UCL Louvain
Workshop at Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society - 12th September 2018


Planer 45 years on - monitoring

To mark the 45 years since Planer was founded, we look back over the past four decades to see how our monitoring products have evolved over this time. 

45 years of monitoring posterEarly on in our corporate life we decided to supply other key parts of the processes that would complement our freezers: we added a wide range of liquid nitrogen supply and storage vessels, and then added level and temperature alarms and the relating software.

A logical further step was the introduction of our own temperature logging system for frozen samples in transit. A very large number of these original ShipsLog systems are still in use today. We recently launched a new ShipsLog3™, pictured above, - easier to maintain and from which to download information

Customers asked us to help them alarm and monitor many types of freezer as well as other pieces of key laboratory equipment. We introduced our wireless system, DATAssure™ (pictured here) to help keep watch on sample and operator safety at the same time as complying with HACCP, BRC, FDA and MRHA legislative requirements.

The DATAssure™ system is stand-alone and connects directly to an IT network without the need for dedicated PCs, servers or specialist software. Information from the base station can be viewed directly on the colour touch screen or via a standard web browser and on devices from PCs to tablets to mobile phones.  

The monitoring of temperature and equipment status is as important in precision incubators as controlled rate freezers and the DATAssure system will enhance the large number of monitoring systems we already have installed throughout the world.

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45 years - still pioneers
Planer 45 years on - freezing
Planer 45 years on - incubating
Download 45 years of monitoring poster



News Stories - 2018

News Stories - 2017