News 2017

19 years old and going strong ...

Under the shadow of old Table Mountain stands South Africa’s oldest university – The University of Cape Town. Within the University's prestigious Faculty of Health Sciences - considered one of the best faculties for medical research in the world - lies the Research Animal Facility (RAF), a department dedicated to supplying quality animal related procedure training, research animals and veterinary and para-veterinary technical assistance to researchers in various fields.  Working with animals in research is a privilege which should not be taken for granted or squandered. In order to ensure top quality research, the RAF supports and recommends the three R’s of research: Replace, Reduce, and Refine. These principles promote the replacement of animals with alternate models, reduction of the number of animals used in research, and refinement of protocols to ensure the animals’ welfare is considered during experiments in order to eliminate unnecessary suffering.

Striving to “practice what they preach”, the cryopreservation program was initiated. The aim of the program is to replace the mouse strains available to order as live mice with cryopreserved gametes instead. This is done by freezing embryos and sperm from the different mouse strains using a Planer Kryo 10 Series III controlled rate freezer. At an amazing 19 years+ of age this machine is almost as old as Table Mountain! The Planer has proven to be durable, dependable and downright dogged - attesting to the longevity of the product, which is serviced locally. Once frozen, the mouse sperm and embryos can be stored in liquid nitrogen indefinitely. This ensures that the valuable mouse strains are not bred when not in use nor lost when research comes to an end and can be re-derived (recreated) if a new research protocol begins. So while some ideas are put on ice, the Research Animal Facility’s dedication to excellent animal welfare and quality research provides the opportunity for those ideas to be thawed out and reborn in the future.

Pictured here: Embryologist, Ms Kerith Coulson, using a Planer Kryo 10 controlled rate freezer to cryopreserve mouse embryos.


For further information
http://planer.com/products/cryo-freezers/medium-crf/kryo-560.html

Principles of Thermal Ecology

The recent meeting of the Society for Low Temperature Biology took place at the home of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. There were many interesting presentation and posters - several featuring Planer freezers.

One of the advantages of the Society is that it allows researchers from different countries, angles and disciplines to meet and discuss temperature in the widest sense. One such is Andrew Clarke, Emeritus Fellow of The British Antarctic Survey and who has recently written a book on the Principles of Thermal Ecology. Temperature affects everything and as air or water warm or cool, they change in density, viscosity, solubility of gases and solids, ionisation etc.  All of these changes affect organisms, and this often complex mixture of direct and indirect effects means that temperature exerts a powerful influence over what organisms can and cannot do. The book provides looks at three themes - broadly the physics of temperature, temperature and physiology, and temperature and ecology describing the implications of climate change for the earth's biota.

After graduating from Cambridge University Andrew joined the British Antarctic Survey and spent the next 40 years working in South Georgia, the South Orkney Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the Antarctic continent and his main ecological interests centre on how animals and plants relate to temperature; he has written over 180 scientific papers and this book summarises a lifetime of experience in the field. 

The book has short introductions to the physics of energy, heat and temperature, and then discusses the unusual nature of water and the physiological challenge of freezing.  The bulk of the book deals with the influence of temperature on physiology, particularly metabolism and growth, the evolution of endothermy  - the maintenance of a high internal body temperature by mammals and birds, hibernation etc. and ends with a discussion of climate change and how it affects organisms in general. 

 For further information:
Principles of Thermal Ecology: Temperature, Energy and Life

 

Transgenic Technology Meeting 2017

The 14th International Transgenic Technology meeting will be taking place at the Snowbird Resort, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA from the 1st to 4th October 2017 . The programme for this year’s meeting will include the classic topics presented in previous meetings, such as the generation, analysis and application of transgenic models, advances and applications in genome editing and manipulation.

Planer will be exhibiting at this year’s meeting. Please come and see us on our Booth if you would like to find out more about our range of products:-

For further information, visit:-
14th Transgenic Technology Meeting

 

Freezers at the Royan Institute & Cell Tech Pharmed

In recent years, the regenerative medicine and cell therapy industry has witnessed significant progress in different aspects of science, technology and commercialisation. The Cell Tech Pharmed pilot site in Iran is the first authorised stem cell manufacturing centre with a 3,000 patient capacity and is the largest stem cell manufacturing site in the Middle East.

A recent documentary on Iranian TV, IRIB, showed Dr. Nasser Aghdami as he reported on the process and progress of cell therapy technology in Iran. Dr. Aghdami was the head of regenerative medicine and cell therapy in the renowned Royan institute. Several years of research there led to his use of fundamental science in clinical areas via clinical trials; the application of this science is advancing in Iran.

Dr. Aghdami is now CEO of the Cell Tech Pharmed company, established in 2014 to meet the increasing demand for stem cell therapy. The product development focus is on five major and distinct areas - systemic diseases with an underlying inflammatory and immunologic etiology which can be addressed by intravenous delivery of cell therapy for immuno-modulation; cardiac and vascular diseases where cell therapy products are being developed for both local and systemic application; orthopaedic diseases of the knee, ankle and pelvis where cell therapy products can be locally administered to potentially repair the damaged joint cartilage or generate new bone; improving outcomes of bone marrow transplantations associated with oncology or genetic conditions and lastly skin augmentation, where current methods are ineffective. Scientific support comes from co-founders of the new company, The Royan Institute and the Barakat Pharmed Company.

In the Royan Institute, research activities at the Department of Regenerative Medicine focus on similar areas with translational and clinical studies.  GMP and Quality Control for cell production, as well as isolation and culturing cells in completely sterile conditions, is of major importance in the exacting efforts to produce cells with the highest quality for cell therapy. The Royan Institute has had a number of Planer freezers over the years - and the latest, supplied by our distributor Iran Panam Company, are shown here.

For further details, please visit the following websites
Iran Panam
Cell Tech Pharmed
Royan Institute
Kryo 560

 

 

Society for Low Temperature Biology meeting

The 2017 Society for Low Temperature Biology meeting will be taking place at the Aurora, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK on the 19th and 20th September 2017.

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.

The interests of its members are diverse, however, all share a common interest in understanding relationships between low temperatures and biological systems. The objectives of the SLTB are:

  • To advance the education of the public in the science of low temperature biology.  
  • To advance the science of low temperature biology. 
  • To promote research into the science of low temperature biology and; 
  • Disseminate the useful results to the public.

Interests range from natural mechanisms of cold tolerance, the cryopreservation of cells and tissues for medical, agricultural and conservation purposes, low temperature microscopy, through to the physics and physical chemistry of water and ice; and heat and mass transfer in all types of biological systems.

As a pioneering company within this field Planer will be attending this meeting to demonstrate our latest Cryogenic equipment.

For further information about this meeting please visit http://www.sltb.info/index.php/meetings.html

Meta analysis on ovarian tissue freezing

On 17th July Science Daily reported on a new study published in Reproductive Sciences. Ovarian tissue freezing, a procedure where ovarian tissue is removed and frozen cryogenically for later use, has been considered experimental until now. The new study, (SAGE Publications 13 July 2017), reports that nearly four out of 10 women who underwent the procedure were able to have children later in life as a result.

Despite progress over the past two decades, "the procedure still remained in the experimental realm," say the authors Drs Pacheco and Oktay. "Given these recent data, ovarian tissue cryopreservation should be considered as a viable option for fertility preservation." Dr. Kutluk Oktay, who performed the world's first procedure of this kind in 1999, together with co-author Dr. Fernanda Pacheco examined data from 1999 to 2016. They found that 309 ovarian tissue freezing procedures resulted in 84 births and 8 pregnancies that lasted beyond the first trimester. The procedure restored reproductive functions and reversed menopause in nearly two out of three women including either a resumed menstrual cycle, ovarian follicular growth, or natural fertility and the procedure restored natural fertility in great majority of the cases: while two thirds could conceive naturally only about one third needed IVF.

"The procedure is superior to egg freezing as it can also reverse menopause and restore natural fertility," continued the senior study author Dr. Oktay. "The next frontier is to explore the procedure's potential in delaying childbearing among health women, not just cancer patients." The authors note that "In all OTTs resulting in LBs, the tissues had been frozen with the slow freezing technique".

We at Planer have been extensively involved in this new area - see the web news section of our website for details of births where our Kryo 360 has helped the process.

Further information
Science Daily:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170713081537.htm
Full article http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1933719117702251

 

AVA Clinic, Latvia, chooses Planer benchtop incubator

Riga, in Latvia, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and is the third biggest city in the Baltic region, right after St. Petersburg and Stockholm. The AVA Clinic based there, is part of a European network of infertility treatment clinics founded in 1993 and this one opened in 2005.

The experienced Riga team get high infertility treatment results, and they adhere strictly to ISO 9001:2008 which is why they chose the Planer Origio BT37 benchtop incubator. The BT37, a worldwide success story, is a high accuracy bench-top incubator for growing and maintaining gametes and embryos. The incubator will keep cells at optimal temperature, humidity and gas content by maintaining a constant and clean environment and it has extremely accurate temperature control, systems for pH stability and regulated humidity. All the technology goes to making sure that an embryo suffers little or no exposure to temperature or pH level changes.

More:
http://www.avaclinic.lv/en/
https://planer.com/products/incubators/bt37.html

 

Improve post-thaw function in cryopreserved Mesenchymal Stromal Cells

Results from a multi disciplinary study into improving post thaw function in MSCs has just been published in the journal Stem Cells and Development. Current methods for freezing mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) result in poor post-thaw function, which limits the clinical utility of these cells. The investigation, carried out by Pollock, Samsonraj et al with Professor Allison Hubel, (pictured here), a Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota collaboration, developed a novel approach to preserving MSCs using combinations of sugars, sugar alcohols, and small-molecule additives. MSCs frozen using these solutions exhibit improved post-thaw attachment and a more normal alignment of the actin cytoskeleton compared to cells exposed to dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO). As a part of the protocol the team used a Planer controlled rate freezer with a six part programme starting at -20oC  with differing rates cooling down to -100oC before transferring to liquid nitrogen. The authors point out that rapid cooling and warming steps in their freezing profile correspond to a temperature spike which is included in the freezing ramps to reliably induce extracellular ice formation in the samples before they undercool substantially - which can result in undesirable intracellular ice formation when nucleation does finally occur.

Osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation assays showed that cells retained their mesenchymal lineage properties and genomic analysis indicated that the different freezing media evaluated had  different effects on the levels of DNA hydroxymethylation, which are a principal epigenetic mark. RNA sequencing and quantitative real time-polymerase chain reaction validation demonstrated that transcripts for distinct classes of cytoprotective genes, as well as genes related to extracellular matrix structure and growth factor/receptor signaling are upregulated in experimental freezing solutions compared to DMSO. The studies validate the concept that DMSO-free solutions can improve post-thaw biological functions and are viable alternatives for freezing MSCs. These novel solutions promote expression of cytoprotective genes, modulate the CpG epigenome, and retain the differentiation ability of MSCs, suggesting that osmolyte-based freezing solutions may provide a new paradigm for therapeutic cell preservation.

For further information:-
Improved Post-Thaw Function and Epigenetic Changes in Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Cryopreserved Using Multicomponent Osmolyte Solutions
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28178884

Allison Hubel, PhD Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Minnesota 
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Andre J. van Wijnen, PhD Department of Orthopedic Surgery Mayo Clinic,  
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Planer controlled rate freezer - kryo 560
https://planer.com/products/cryo-freezers/medium-crf/kryo-560.html