Cell Therapies

Bioengineered Ears: The Latest Advance

Physicians at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) and biomedical engineers at Cornell University have succeeded in building living facsimiles of human ears. They believe that their bioengineering method will finally achieve the goal of providing normal-appearing new ears to children born with a congenital ear deformity. The researchers used three-dimensional (3D) printing and injectable gels made of living cells. Over a three-month period, the ears steadily grew cartilage to replace the collagen used in molding them. The study’s colead-author is…

Transfer of Hepatic Progenitor Stem Cell Culture Process from Multitray Stacks to the Integrity® Xpansion™ Multiplate Bioreactor

Scale-up a stem cell process may be challenging: small variations in physicochemical parameters (surface characteristics, pH and dissolved oxygen) can heavily impact stem cell growth and behavior. The Integrity® Xpansion™ multiplate bioreactors have been designed to enable an easy transfer from multiple-tray stacks process by offering the same cell growth environment: stacked hydrophylized polystyrene plates in a compact and closed system (from 10 to 200 plates per bioreactor equivalent respectively to 6120cm² and 122400cm²). As there is no headspace between…

T-Cell Suspension Culture in a 24-Well Microbioreactor

Cell therapy promises revolutionary new therapeutic treatments for cancer and other serious diseases and injuries. For example, T-cell therapy response rates of >50% and durable complete response rates of 20% have been reported in patients with metastatic melanoma who had failed other therapies (1). In another example, sustained remissions of up to a year were achieved among a small group of advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients upon treatment with autologous T-cells expressing an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (2). Numerous other…

Seeding Tissue-Engineered Vascular Grafts in a Closed, Disposable Filter–Vacuum System

Tissue engineering is a multidisciplinary science that applies principles from engineering to the biological sciences to create replacement tissues from their cellular components (1). Resulting neotissues can repair or replace native tissues that are diseased, damaged, or congenitally absent. One technique that has come into widespread use is based on seeding cells onto a three-dimensional (3D) biodegradable scaffold that functions as a cell-delivery vehicle (2). Cells attach to the scaffold, which then provides space for neotissue formation and can serve…

Downstream Technology Landscape for Large-Scale Therapeutic Cell Processing

The cell therapy industry (CTI) is poised to grow rapidly over the next decade, treating millions of patients and generating annual revenues into the tens of billions of US dollars (1, 2). To meet that high-growth demand, large CTI system manufacturers (e.g., Corning, Nunc/Nalgene, and GE Healthcare) and leading contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs, such as Lonza) are developing and integrating new upstream technology platforms such as gas-permeable membranes and microcarrier-based bioreactors to significantly increase therapeutic cell culture productivity. As those…

Advocating an Evolution

In a 2006 report, the US Department of Health and Human Services hailed regenerative medicine as “the vanguard of 21st century healthcare” and “the first truly interdisciplinary field that utilizes and brings together nearly every field in science” (1). To fuel support for regulatory, legislative, and reimbursement initiatives in this new therapeutic class, a small group of scientists, life science business executives, patient advocates, and other experts formed the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM, http://alliancerm.org). Starting with 17 charter members,…

2012 in Review

As children growing up, we could barely contain our anticipation for those banner, milestone years: entering first grade, becoming a teenager, turning 16 and then 18, high-school graduation. But even the most innocuous “in-between” years saw notable change and maturation, and 2012 was just such a year for the growing cell therapy sector. Although it is not likely to be noted as a pivotal or breakthrough year, 2012 nonetheless delivered some significant and welcome signposts of continued sector maturation. Here…

Single-Use Technologies in Cell Therapy

Single-use technologies (SUTs) are tools that can be used in producing cell therapies and personalized medicines. Such products must meet specific requirements because of the way they are used. To meet those criteria, the cell therapy industry simply has no alternatives to single-use systems. SUT applications are rapidly changing. Traditional uses for single-use systems in cell therapy include processing in clinical settings (e.g., blood bags, transfer sets) and research and development (e.g., T-flasks, pipettes). Although such applications continue, the commercialization…

Automation of Cell Therapy Biomanufacturing

Biomanufacturing automation is an established mission-critical step in the commercialization pathway for conventional therapeutics, including small molecules and monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) (1). The prospect of a potential biologic progressing into late-stage clinical trials without a robust biomanufacturing strategy to support at least pilot-plant scale bioprocessing is simply unthinkable. Conversely, the cell therapy industry (or at least a significant proportion of it) regard this as a trend that is unlikely to be mirrored as the industry develops. The aim of this…

Managing Contamination Risk While Maintaining Quality in Cell-Therapy Manufacturing

With an increasing number of cell therapies becoming available for patient use, the need for controlled and consistent manufacturing and delivery of cell products is increasingly important. A closed cell culture process not only offers control and consistency, but may also relieve labor demands. Single-use components within a closed process also can reduce contamination risk. Closed systems with single-use platforms may reduce the risk of biological contamination and cross-contamination that could inadvertently be introduced into cell-culture processes. Such contaminants use…