When an 87-year-old Californian man was wheeled into an operating room just outside Phoenix last year, the pandemic was at its height and medical protocols were being upended across the country.
A case like his would normally have required 14 or more bags of fluids to be pumped into him, but now that posed a problem.
Had he been infected with the coronavirus, tiny aerosol droplets could have escaped and infected staff, so the operating team had adopted new procedures that reduced the effectiveness of the treatment but used fewer liquids.
The resulting implant consists of cells attached to the scaffold, which permits the targeted delivery of therapeutic cells to the diseased region within the eye. A non-cryopreserved formulation of this cellular therapy is being employed in an ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial sponsored by RPT. The cryopreserved formulation enabled by the work of Pennington and colleagues will facilitate anticipated Phase IIb and Phase III clinical trials as well as ultimate commercialization and clinical application of the product.
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara, University of Southern California (USC), and the biotechnology company Regenerative Patch Technologies LLC (RPT) have reported new methodology for preservation of RPT’s stem cell-based therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The new research, recently published in Scientific Reports, optimizes the conditions to cryopreserve, or freeze, an implant consisting of a single layer of ocular cells generated from human embryonic stem cells supported by a flexible scaffold about 3×6 mm in size. This implant is currently in clinical trial for the treatment of AMD, the leading cause of blindness in aging populations. The results demonstrate that the implant can be frozen, stored for long periods and distributed in frozen form to clinical sites where it is designed to be thawed and immediately implanted into the eyes of patients with macular degeneration. The capacity to cryopreserve this and other cell-based therapeutics will extend shelf life and enable on-demand distribution to distant clinical sites, increasing the number of patients able to benefit from such treatments.
The report published by lead author Britney Pennington and colleagues achieves a milestone that brings ocular implants one step closer to the clinic. “This is the first published report that demonstrates high viability and function of adherent ocular cells following cryopreservation, even after long-term frozen storage,” said Pennington, head of process development at RPT and assistant project scientist at UC Santa Barbara.
Circa 2015 brain immortality through aldehyde stabilized cryopreservation.
We describe here a new cryobiological and neurobiological technique, aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation (ASC), which demonstrates the relevance and utility of advanced cryopreservation science for the neurobiological research community. ASC is a new brain-banking technique designed to facilitate neuroanatomic research such as connectomics research, and has the unique ability to combine stable long term ice-free sample storage with excellent anatomical resolution. To demonstrate the feasibility of ASC, we perfuse-fixed rabbit and pig brains with a glutaraldehyde-based fixative, then slowly perfused increasing concentrations of ethylene glycol over several hours in a manner similar to techniques used for whole organ cryopreservation. Once 65% w/v ethylene glycol was reached, we vitrified brains at −135 °C for indefinite long-term storage. Vitrified brains were rewarmed and the cryoprotectant removed either by perfusion or gradual diffusion from brain slices. We evaluated ASC-processed brains by electron microscopy of multiple regions across the whole brain and by Focused Ion Beam Milling and Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM) imaging of selected brain volumes. Preservation was uniformly excellent: processes were easily traceable and synapses were crisp in both species. Aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation has many advantages over other brain-banking techniques: chemicals are delivered via perfusion, which enables easy scaling to brains of any size; vitrification ensures that the ultrastructure of the brain will not degrade even over very long storage times; and the cryoprotectant can be removed, yielding a perfusable aldehyde-preserved brain which is suitable for a wide variety of brain assays.
As part of preparing for an experiment aboard the International Space Station, researchers explored new ways to culture living heart cells for microgravity research. They found that cryopreservation, a process of storing cells at-80°C, makes it easier to transport these cells to the orbiting lab, providing more flexibility in launch and operations schedules. The process could benefit other biological research in space and on Earth.
The investigation, MVP Cell-03, cultured heart precursor cells on the space station to study how microgravity affects the number of cells produced and how many of them survive. These precursor cells have potential for use in disease modeling, drug development, and regenerative medicine, such as using cultured heart cells to replenish those damaged or lost due to cardiac disease.
Previous studies suggest that culturing such cells in simulated microgravity increases the efficiency of their production. But using live cell cultures in space presents some unique challenges. The MVP Cell-03 experiment, for example, must be conducted within a specific timeframe, when the cells are at just the right stage. Flight changes and crew availability could lead to delays that affect the research.
Cryopreservation, or the long-term storage of biomaterials at ultralow temperatures, has been used across cell types and species. However, until now, the practical cryopreservation of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)—which is crucial to genetics research and critical to scientific breakthroughs benefiting human health—has not been available.
“To keep alive the ever-increasing number of fruit flies with unique genotypes that aid in these breakthroughs, some 160000 different flies, laboratories and stock centers engage in the costly and frequent transfer of adults to fresh food, risking contamination and genetic drift,” said Li Zhan, a postdoctoral associate with the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering and the Center for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio).
In new research published in Nature Communications, a University of Minnesota team has developed a first-of-its-kind method that cryopreserves fruit fly embryos so they can be successfully recovered and developed into adult insects. This method optimizes embryo permeabilization and age, cryoprotectant agent composition, different phases of nitrogen (liquid vs. slush), and post-cryopreservation embryo culture methods.
Earth is destined for disaster. This is a good insurance policy.
In 2013, a cataclysmic meteor the size of a six-story building broke apart above Chelyabinsk, Russia, and the resulting blast was stronger than a nuclear explosion. In 2068, astronomers believe a potentially hazardous “God of Chaos” asteroid could slam into Earth. Both events suggest humans—and every other animal and plant on Earth—are much more susceptible to total annihilation than we think.
That’s why scientists at the University of Arizona are proposing a far-out concept that just might save us all: a 21st-century version of Noah’s Ark … on the moon.
This ark wouldn’t contain two of every animal, but rather, a repository of cryogenically frozen reproductive cells from 6.7 million species on our planet.
Larry King was very open about his desire to be frozen after he died. Recently, a doctor said they met with King and revealed more information about what they talked about, including if King is frozen now.
This is the FIRST part of the interview with Rodolfo Goya.
In this video Professor Goya talks about his role in the original experiment and the progress in his current study to reproduce the results with young blood plasma.
Professor Rodolfo Goya is Senior Scientist at The National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina where he is a biochemist and researcher.
Dr. Goya has led a number of studies on cellular reprogramming and restoration of function in important organs, such as the thymus and the brain. He is also studying different aspects of cryopreservation.
He was one of the authors of the paper “Reversing age: dual species measurement of epigenetic age with a single clock” and is now working in his lab to reproduce and extend the results.
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A team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) inGermany, Givskud Zoo–Zootopia in Denmark and the University of Milan in Italy succeeded in producing the very first African lionin-vitroembryos after the vitrification of immature oocytes. For this specific method of cryopreservation, oocytes are collected directly after an animal is castrated or deceased and immediately frozen at-196°C in liquid nitrogen. This technique allows the storage of oocytes of valuable animals for an unlimited time, so that they can be used to produce offspring with the help of assisted reproduction techniques. The aim is to further improve and apply these methods to save highly endangered species such as the Asiatic lion from extinction. The current research on African lions as a model species is an important step in this direction. The results are reported in the scientific journal Cryobiology.
Lion oocytes are presumed to be very sensitive to chilling due to their high lipid content, resulting in poor revival following slow cooling. Vitrification can circumvent this problem, as the cells are frozen at ultra-fast speeds in solutions with a very high concentration of cryoprotective agents. This method prevents the formation of ice crystals in the cells, which could destroy them, and enables them to remain intact for an unlimited time to allow their use later on.
For the present research, the scientists collected oocytes from four African lionesses from Givskud Zoo—Zootopia after the animals had been euthanised for the purpose of population management. Half of the oocytes (60) were vitrified instantly. After six days of storage in liquid nitrogen, the vitrified oocytes were thawed and subjected toin-vitromaturation in an incubator at 39°C for a total of 32–34 hours. The other half (59) were used as control group and directly subjected toin-vitromaturation without a step of vitrification. Mature oocytes of both groups were then fertilized with frozen-thawed sperm from African lion males. “We could demonstrate a high proportion of surviving and matured oocytes in the group of vitrified oocytes. Almost 50% of them had matured, a proportion similar to that in the control group,” says Jennifer Zahmel, scientist at the Department of Reproduction Biology at the Leibniz-IZW.