Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fully equipped, automated laboratory advances for clinical stem cell therapies

12.02.2019

Stem cells can offer new hope as a treatment for several serious diseases, including arthritis, diabetic complications, several cancers, liver diseases and more. Today, the production of stem cells is a complex, highly-skilled, and labour-intensive task, with a high risk of contamination or human error. Therefore, the EU funded Horizon 2020 research project “Autostem”, led by the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), has been working on a fully automated production line for stem cells.

At their final meeting at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Germany, the ten international project partners from four European countries presented a whole new production platform demonstrator which was built in the three-year project for the generation of therapeutic cells at the litre scale.


Two industrial jointed-arm robots inside the system assist the fully end-to-end automated cell production.

Foto: Fraunhofer IPT

The Autostem platform concept has been designed as a user-oriented, closed, automated system to provide an efficient pipeline for the delivery of large numbers of therapeutic cells (mesenchymal stromal cells or MSCs). The process starts with a bone marrow donation, taken from the hip bone of a donor using a novel suction device developed to improve the patients’ comfort and yield.

The bone marrow can be transferred in a sterile manner into the Autostem production line, where a robotic arm supports the isolation of MSCs from the bone marrow. The production line also includes capacity for real-time process management, monitoring of cell quality and environment and maintenance of the bio-reactor.

Flexible, automated cell production platform with related software and fully integrated functional modules

This entire process involves no hands-on human operations. While the system is of course monitored by scientific staff, the cell production process is entirely automated. This removes much of the risk of error or contamination, so that the pipleline will generate large amounts of high-quality cells, suitable for use in therapy.

In addition to the novel pipeline itself, other innovations include tailored sensors that provide real-time in-process monitoring during production. Commercially available sensors track dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature, but the Autostem team have developed additional sensors to also track glucose, lactate and ammonia.

The platform represents a fully equipped, automated laboratory which will soon be working in a completely environmentally controlled area and is capable of isolating and expanding MSCs autonomously in a full end-to-end, adaptive process. Its modular and highly integrated design combines state-of-the-art laboratory equipment with novel technological developments:

The pipeline allows for close monitoring and control of production and environmental parameters and paves the way towards sophisticated production schemes that are adaptive to cell behaviour. In this way the Autostem platform has been built to deliver a significant advance towards the routine clinical application of cell therapies in the future.

Exploring commercial perspectives of the project outputs

The Autostem team which has been working together in the project represents a wealth of experience in regenerative medicine, automation and robotics, bio-reactors and cell production, regulatory affairs and quality control, over more than ten years.

The project began on 1 January 2016 and finished successfully on 31 December 2018. Finally, the researchers have been biologically validating the cells that had been produced in the project in vitro and in vivo, in order to ensure the clinical-relevance of the product.

As the prototype of the Autostem platform has been finished now, more work will be needed to allow for direct clinical use in patients, so the next steps will be exploring the markets for the project outputs. New knowledge about MSC selection and expansion, bioreactor systems, sensor technology and MSC action has been gained, which will present opportunities for further research and collaboration.

“The project is paving the way towards the cost-effective manufacture of MSCs and other therapeutic cell products in the future. Ultimately, this will benefit patients, clinicians and health systems, yielding wider societal and economic benefits”, says Dr. Mary Murphy of the National University of Ireland, Galway, Coordinator of the Autostem project.

List of international Autostem research partners

- National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
- Universita Degli Studi di Genova, Italy
- Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT, Germany
- University College Cork - National University Of Ireland, Cork, Ireland
- Pintail Ltd, Ireland
- Crospon Limited (now part of Medtronic), Ireland
- Zellwerk GmbH, Germany
- Cell Therapy Catapult Limited, United Kingdom
- Aston University, United Kingdom
- Orbsen Therapeutics Limited, Ireland

AUTOSTEM has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no 667932. The material presented and views expressed here are the responsibility of the author(s) only. The EU Commission takes no responsibility for any use made of the information set out.

For more information please visit: www.autostem2020.eu

This press release and printable photos are also available on the internet: http://s.fhg.de/autostem2020

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Head of the business unit "Life sciences engineering"
Jelena Ochs M.Sc.

Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT
Steinbachstr. 17
52074 Aachen, Germany
www.ipt.fraunhofer.de
jelena.ochs@ipt.fraunhofer.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.ipt.fraunhofer.de/en/Press/Pressreleases/20190212_automated-laborato...

Susanne Krause | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnologie IPT

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 60 years solitary confinement – green test tube biodiversity
12.02.2019 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

nachricht Selfish chromosomes make harmful fungus vulnerable to attack
12.02.2019 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Famous “sandpile model” shown to move like a traveling sand dune

Researchers at IST Austria find new property of important physical model. Results published in PNAS

The so-called Abelian sandpile model has been studied by scientists for more than 30 years to better understand a physical phenomenon called self-organized...

Im Focus: Cryo-force spectroscopy reveals the mechanical properties of DNA components

Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a new method to examine the elasticity and binding properties of DNA molecules on a surface at extremely low temperatures. With a combination of cryo-force spectroscopy and computer simulations, they were able to show that DNA molecules behave like a chain of small coil springs. The researchers reported their findings in Nature Communications.

DNA is not only a popular research topic because it contains the blueprint for life – it can also be used to produce tiny components for technical applications.

Im Focus: Finally available in a bottle

Researchers succeed in gaining access to an important chemical compound

Since the discovery of the first homoleptic metal carbonyl complex Ni(CO)4 more than 130 years ago, scientists try to obtain further such compounds formed from...

Im Focus: Escort service: The role of immune cells in the formation of metastases

Tumor cells use a certain type of immune cells, the so-called neutrophils, to enhance their ability to form metastases. Scientists have deciphered the mechanisms of this collaboration and found strategies for blocking them. This is reported by researchers from the University of Basel and the University Hospital of Basel in the scientific journal "Nature".

A better understanding of the features that define the interplay between cancer cells and immune cells is key to identifying new cancer therapies. Yet, focus...

Im Focus: Invisible tags: Physicists at TU Dresden write, read and erase using light

A team of physicists headed by Prof. Sebastian Reineke of TU Dresden developed a new method of storing information in fully transparent plastic foils. Their innovative idea was now published in the renowned online journal “Science Advances”.

Prof. Reineke and his LEXOS team work with simple plastic foils with a thickness of less than 50 µm, which is thinner than a human hair. In these transparent...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Safer Food – Less Waste

12.02.2019 | Trade Fair News

Forest Bird Community is endangered in South America

12.02.2019 | Studies and Analyses

Selfish chromosomes make harmful fungus vulnerable to attack

12.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>