Automated Cell Thawing at the Blood Systems Research Institute

Automated Cell Thawing at the Blood Systems Research Institute

Dr. Mars Stone uses the new ThawSTAR® cell thawing system  for her work at the BSRI viral repository. Pictured here is the human HIV-1 virus. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Mars Stone, staff scientist at the Blood Systems Research Institute (BSRI). Dr. Stone has been helping to beta test MedCision’s newly released ThawSTAR®automated cell thawing system, and was pleased to share her opinion with us on how automated cell thawing will affect her work with cryopreserved human blood cells.

BSRI carries out research ranging from tracking disease outbreaks, to virus discovery to cellular therapy. The viral reference core facility that Dr. Stone works for manages the biorepository at BSRI; a repository containing up to three quarters of a million blood samples. Dr. Stone gave us some background on the cells she works with:

From whole blood samples we isolate peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and subsets of PBMCs from them. We process many clinical specimens for other studies in addition to carrying out our own research studies.” The cryopreserved cells Dr. Stone works with are critical to a number a different research efforts, including her own research into primate models of HIV. Until now, Dr. Stone has used a water bath to thaw vials of cryopreserved PBMCs one vial at a time…she had this to say when she heard about our new automated cell thawing system:

MedCision [BioCision] is a very innovative company and once we heard about the new cell thawer, we were really eager to try it out for thawing PBMCs from our viral repository. When using a water bath to thaw there is always a risk of contamination, and we were keen to have a more reproducible cell thawing method. The ThawSTAR® solves all of our concerns and we can even use it in the hood which improves our cryopreservation workflow”.

Automated Thawing of Cryopreserved PBMCs

In trials using cryopreserved PBMCs, ThawSTAR® showed equivalent percent recovery with lower variation vial-to-vial while eliminating the possibility of contamination from communal water baths. Data generated by Blood Systems Research Institute.

“The ability to use the ThawSTAR® cell thawing system in the cell culture hood will be a boon to many scientists, not only because there is less risk of contamination than with a water bath, but also in that it saves time. Once the ThawStar is wiped down with alcohol, it’s ready to go for any number of vials. There’s no need to travel back and forth to the hood, and no risk of exposing your cryogenic vial to contamination along the way”.

Dr. Stone found that in regards to cell viability and recovery, her results were “identical” to those with a water bath. She did note, however, that she felt both consistency and workflow were better with the ThawSTAR cell thawing system, and was pleased that rather than needing to repeatedly check for the last crystal of ice in her sample, using the ThawSTAR automated cell thawing system resulted in a complete thaw every time. She finished the interview with a quote that we are happy to repeat: “We are big fans of MedCision [BioCision] in general”.

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