Cell Enrichment Methodologies Using Cord Blood as a Source: Automated vs Manual

Overview of Cord Blood and its Uses

Cord blood is blood found in the blood vessels of the placenta and the umbilical cord. It is collected after a baby is born and once the umbilical cord is cut, making it a safe procedure for both mother and baby. Cord blood is a good source of stem cells that form into blood cells, and can be used for transplantation in people who need regeneration of these blood-forming cells. 

Currently, the FDA has approved cord blood for use in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation procedures, which are those that affect a patient’s blood forming system. Cord blood has been used to treat blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, and has also been used for certain blood and immune system disorders, such as sickle cell disease.


Cell Processing Using Cord Blood and The Two Options for Cell Enrichment

The goal of cord blood processing is to isolate and extract the maximum amount of valuable cells without contamination or damage. Preserving the highest quality and quantity of cells ensures they will be ready for future clinical use while minimizing the risk of complication. 

When it comes to the cell enrichment process, there are two options:

  • Manual Processing
  • Automated Processing


The Manual Method

Manual processing is the most common cell processing method used by the majority of cell banks. Trained lab technicians process cells by hand, using a process called Hetastarch in manual processing bag sets. Research facilities, or those that want to use cells for research or manufacturing purposes may use a density gradient medium, such as Ficoll-Paque, to isolate cells from the blood. The Ficoll method was first used in 1964 by Böyum.  Using this method, cell samples can contain only the good, white blood cells if left in a container at room temperature for approximately an hour.


Benefits of Manual Cell Processing 

The biggest advantage of manual cell processing is that it is more cost effective. It is also better for processing the smallest family collections because the procedures can be customized as needed.



The greatest disadvantage of manual cell processing is that it is highly dependent on the lab technician’s skills, which could lead to inconsistent results. It also leaves greater room for error, which is something that should be minimized at all costs in order for the cells to be viable for future use.


The Automated Process

Automated cell processing is a less popular option, however using a highly sophisticated system, such as the PXP®-1000, offers many advantages.


Advantages of Automated Cell Processing

Fully automated cell processing has many advantages, including reducing the risk of contamination, increasing the consistency of the process and the results. Minimizing risk is of the utmost importance, as the goal of cell processing is to ensure the most efficient and safe results for a patient’s use in the future.


The PXP®-1000

The PXP®-1000 System is designed to provide a fast, automated, and reproducible separation of cord blood with minimal red blood cell contamination in a closed and sterile environment. By reducing red blood cell contamination, this fully automated, closed system provides a more pure cell enrichment. Using this system, scientists and medical professionals can be confident that they are providing their patients with the highest quality final product.


TG Offers Solutions for Cord Blood Processing and Storage

ThermoGenesis Holdings Inc. (formerly Cesca Therapeutics Inc.), is a pioneer and market leader in the development and commercialization of automated cell processing technologies for the cell and gene therapy fields. We market a full suite of solutions for automated clinical biobanking, point-of-care applications and large-scale cell processing and manufacturing with a special emphasis on the emerging CAR-T immunotherapy market. We are committed to making the world a healthier place by creating innovative solutions for those in need. 

For more information, please contact our Sales team.

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