Cryo-preservation is routinely used in a wide range of areas including cell therapy, tissue engineering and cell banking where frozen cells such as hepatocytes and CHO are used in drug discovery and in vitro toxicity tests.
As the need to store frozen cells becomes wider - as processes scale up - so too does the need for the best available post thawed viability. Successful drug research leads on to full scale production - with its demands for repeatable protocols for accurate standardisation and validation of processes.
Companies involved with the development and commercialisation of novel biological therapies and vaccines, such as those operating in the immuno, virus and cell therapy markets see the move away from traditional methods of vaccine production towards cell based therapies as a way of quickly increasing quantities of vaccine needed for some special instances - eg pandemics.
A specialist company located near London’s Heathrow airport has recently delivered the latest of its large vaccine controlled rate freezers to the USA. The company is the only one in the world to make these controlled rate freezers as standard products and the rate of demand for these has increased in the last few years. These machines, with 180 or 380 litre chambers, are specifically designed for freezing vaccines and other samples in a controlled and monitored manner i.e. -0.01 to -5ºC/Min during high volume cell line work. The larger has space for up to 8000 vials in its 380 litre chamber and the -100ºC end temperature ensures sample integrity during transfer to storage. Ease of validation is a high priority and the computer controller offers passworded access on multiple user levels with time and date stamping, programme preview and verification before running - and data storage for the last five runs for subsequent printing.
These unique, large, controlled rate step freezers are currently in use in Europe, the USA, South America, India and China. Planer pioneered programmed freezing forty years ago and there are now thousands of their smaller standard machines in use around the world helping to preserve viable samples of biological matter.