Are stem cells the hothouse orchids of the cell therapy world?
Sometimes it seems like it. While stem cells are key to new therapies that are radically expanding treatment options for both common and rare conditions worldwide, they come at a considerable cost in time, effort and risk.
What makes stem cells unique for high-stakes cell therapy applications contributes to the difficulty in their management. Stem cells are at greater risk of contamination than immortalized cell lines because of their need for daily handling. They cost more to maintain — their growth media and reagents required for their care can cost at least 10 times more than standard cell types. And their sensitivity to changing conditions, the very trait that increases their value as treatment, means that the slightest stimulus can bring on differentiation and the end of the line for that population.
You might be wistful when an orchid doesn’t make it. But if you lose a stem cell population, it’s going to cost you significantly, in time and budget.
While a natural option for maintaining and growing stem cell populations is segregating them within their own space, it’s often not in a lab’s physical and budgetary constraints to add a specialized incubator.
So we took another look at the incubator footprint to find a solution to work in current laboratory setups. The Cell Locker™ System is the result — a new incubator design that allows for discrete handling of samples in the same efficient lab footprint. The Cell Locker™ System features Cell Locker™ Chambers that protect each cell population as if it were in its own incubator.
Consider these factors when you’re looking to add or replace an incubator in your lab:
- Reduced risk of contamination. Contamination happens to everyone. In direct surveys, 87 percent of cell culturists indicated having at least one contamination event a year. Each Cell Locker™ Chamber features dual 0.2 μm membrane filters, blocking transmission of microorganisms.
- Environmental stability. The disruption to cell populations when an incubator door is opened cannot be underestimated. Temperatures inside the incubator drop close to those in the surrounding room, with radical changes in the environment in even 30 seconds. By segregating the cells into separate chambers, the remaining chambers maintain their environmental stability when one is being manipulated.
- Gas use and evaporation. Creating and maintaining hypoxic conditions in an incubator uses a lot of nitrogen gas. With a hypoxic multichamber system and normal use, tests show that the Cell Locker™ System uses 60 percent less nitrogen gas. The smaller enclosures and engineered airflow also reduce evaporation by 50 percent.
When it’s time to add or replace an incubator in your lab, consider whether an incubator with discrete storage options such as the Thermo Scientific Cell Locker™ System will address regular challenges you face with contamination, environmental stability and resource use. Learn more here.