Cells are the basic building blocks of all biological life. Within these cells are small sections of proteins in DNA that possess all our genetic information, called genes. According to The Human Genome Project, it’s estimated that humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes. These genes all carry vital instructions for making proteins, which in turn builds and maintains our bodies. The small variations found in thousands of these genes account for the vast differences in our appearance, behavior and, most importantly, health.
An Introduction to Cell and Gene Therapy
Genetic diseases occur when a portion of our genes experience an error, mutation or a general change in function. These genetic mutations can lead to potentially devastating diseases like cancer and can be acquired spontaneously or passed down through generations.
Cell and gene therapies were developed to help correct these mutations in DNA and cure diseases on a genetic level. These therapies can be used to produce new or modified genes to help patients continue to live full and productive lives.
The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy has put together a short explainer video to provide a better understanding of the basics of cell and gene therapy. You can view it below.
Stem Cell Therapy
Cell therapies involve the transfer of live cells into a patient to help treat, prevent or potentially cure diseases. One category of cell therapy focuses specifically on the use of stem cells, or cells within the body that have the potential to replace those that are lost through injury or disease. Their versatility and ability to transform allow them to replace problematic or deactivated cells with new, healthy ones. Stem cells are found all throughout the human body including skin, muscle tissue and even deep inside bone marrow. One type of stem cell, known as hematopoietic, is commonly found in bone marrow but is also prevalent in umbilical cord blood.
Cord Blood Stem Cells
Cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord of a newborn where there is a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells. Hematopoietic cells have the ability to develop into all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. These cells have been used in the treatment of over 80 diseases, including cancers, metabolic disorders, immune and blood related illnesses. With over 25,000 successful cord blood transplants performed worldwide, cord blood has proven itself to be an essential tool in helping patients live comfortably again.
Automated Technology for Cord Blood Banking
While the benefits of cord blood are being widely talked about, the type of processing methods being used when banking cord blood are not always part of the discussion.
We want to change that.
Cord blood processing is not equal across all manufacturers/distributors and certain methods can have a large impact on the quality and quantity of the collection, leading to unwanted outcomes.
The ThermoGenesis AXP® II System is a process method that provides high-quality stem cell concentration from cord blood. It is a fully automated system that allows for the fast and reproducible separation of cord blood in a closed and sterile environment. The proprietary technology in the AXP® II System is designed to process cord blood samples in a way that saves the highest concentration of stem cells while making sure they retain their viability. The system boasts accurate and reproducible spin speeds, acceleration and gravitational forces that ensures accurate processing without doing damage to the delicate cells.
The AXP® II System is a fully automated, programmable cell separation and recovery system that utilizes microprocessors and flow controlled optical sensors. The biggest advantage it offers is that it minimizes human error by requiring no manual processing, in turn, delivering consistent and reproducible results.
How the AXP® II System Works
Cord blood collected from a patient and is transferred into a processing bag set which is centrifuged in the AXP Device. During centrifugation, the components in the cord blood are separated. The plasma from the blood remains in the processing bag, while the red blood cells (RBC) are transferred to a separate sterile bag and the buffy coat, or the sample that contains the most white blood cells and platelets, is delivered to a separate sterile freezing bag.
The AXP® II is designed specifically to meet the needs of those in the cord blood banking industry. The system yields 21 milliliters of cord blood with a hematocrit of around 30 percent and allows for four milliliters of cryoprotectant to be added, making the final volume the standard 25 milliliters for most banks. Once the process is complete the freezing bag can be cryopreserved and stored in our BioArchive® System or any storage unit the cord blood bank utilizes.
For a step-by-step look at how the AXP® II System works, take a look at our training video, designed to give laboratory technicians an in-depth understanding of how to operate the device to receive optimal output.
Solutions for Cord Blood Banking and Cord Blood Therapies
While the AXP® II System is a cord blood processing solution designed for long-term storage with the banking industry in mind, we are also currently developing another system to be used specifically for cell therapies. We recognize that physicians performing cell therapies using cord blood need a system that can produce a very low hematocrit product with minimal granulocytes for immediate use. These products are being developed with the needs of laboratories and physicians in mind, giving them the tools they need to better treat their patients.
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, COVID-19 antibody testing, 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 health solutions for everyone.
To see our full suite of cell and gene therapy automated solutions, please visit the shop portion of our website today.