Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

NOV1 2018

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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Page 18 of 57 | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | NOVEMBER 1, 2018 | 17 "and they will take it up by pinocytosis." Dr. Brockbank says that scientists in his subfield within cryobiology prefer, and pref- erentially tend to use, trehalose over other sugars. For one thing, trehalose is not me- tabolized by mammalian cells, "so if you can get it into a cell, that concentration is stable until the cell divides." Sucrose, on the other hand, "is more difficult because cells tend to metabolize it, so accumulation is not always easy." Yet while trehalose is a common excip- ient for pharmaceutical products, and thus there would be "very little concern" about using it in a patient, there "are no questions about residuals" at all with sucrose. The results of using sugars to preserve cells vary with cell type, and for the most part are "still not quite as good as DMSO," Dr. Brockbank admits. "But I think it's more a matter of time and effort." In Recovery It's not just the way that cells are frozen down. The way that cells are thawed and treated post-thaw can lead to high rates of cell loss as well as functional deficits among surviving cells. "In an area like cell therapy, clearly getting back a high number of what you put in, and having the cells function the same way as they did prior to the preserva- tion process, is really important," stresses John Baust, Ph.D., president, founder, and lead scientist at CPSI Biotech. Dr. Baust discussed his group's research into characterization of approaches to efficiently and effectively thaw cells. To this end, they have developed "a dry thawing system that gives reproducible, controllable, hands-free thawing of cell products," akin to controlled freezing devices currently on the market. Once thawed, though, the cells are still not out of danger. "Over the next 24–48 hours is when this whole stress response pro- cess manifests," he notes. "If we can inter- vene in that post-preservation period—what would be basically the recovery or culture period—and help the cell repair itself and have a lower level of stress response, then it would be a better functioning cell." Dr. Baust's group is working on identify- ing different molecular, proteomic, and ge- nomic targets involved with the activation of cell death pathways, and with protein folding and recovery processes. From there, "we can identify compounds that could be additives to the culture media after the thaw- ing process is over." Among the leading can- didates are molecules such as those in the N-acetylcysteine class to control oxidative stress, as well as caspase inhibitors. There are literally billions of already-fro- zen samples that can't benefit from any im- provements in freezing technologies, points out Dr. Baust, but "we still want to be able to get back the best product we can." Easy Access Holistic approaches to systems biology mean that every data point—from haplo- type to age of disease onset to smoker sta- tus—is important. Parsing out that data and subsetting it into meaningful group- ings—the foundation of precision medicine initiatives—can contribute to a better un- derstanding of health and disease as well as help guide individual treatments. But this all means that the exponentially growing collections of samples, along with their as- sociated metadata digests, need to be stored in ways that they are easily searchable and readily retrievable. Part of the answer may be automated biobanking. Here, a robotic system re- ceives, moves, and warehouses barcoded biological materials through a cold space under database control. Allocated space can range from the size of a typical –80 °C lab freezer up to an entire building, depend- ing on the needs and budget of the research group. "They don't have to worry about where the sample is or deciphering or re- membering its location," explains Steve Broach, global sales and marketing man- ager for LiCONiC Instruments. "Nor do they have to remember anything about the data associated with that. All that's done for them automatically." Broach says he may discuss the concomi- tant return on investment (ROI), how an automated biobank favorably compares to a traditional manual cold storage setup in terms of energy costs, space usage, labor, and the like. But "the data and the integra- tion with the LIMS (laboratory information management system) is where most peo- ple are seeing the value." Having at hand millions of samples associated with their searchable metadata enables questions to be answered that could not even be asked otherwise. Bioprocessing © 2018 Promega Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 45533455 Your purification solution, simplified. 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