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European Biopharmaceutical Review

The Rising Star




In routine cell culture transport protocols, it is commonplace to thaw, plate, and recover cryopreserved cells. When using this method, some cells survive the transport quite well, while others either do not survive at all, or they come back from a near-death experience – not quite the same afterwards. Cells that are exposed to suboptimal life-sustaining conditions encounter severe stress and have a reduced survival rate.

The ever-evolving landscape of regenerative medicine and drug discovery is driving the development of innovative and structurally complex biological research tools and living therapies. Simultaneously, the number of business relationships, networks, and consortia in which scientists, industry professionals, and physicians from hospitals, research institutes, and biobanks are cooperating with one another is growing globally. The demand from these professionals is ever increasing for the proper handling and transportation of sensitive material under optimal physiological conditions.

Temperature-Controlled Logistics Take the Stage

In recent years, the logistics industry has made a shift from what was known as cold chain transport to temperaturecontrolled transport. This can be attributed to the increasing number of regenerative medicines, clinical trials, targeted therapies, and cell-based products that need to be shipped over greater distances under tightly regulated conditions. The complexity and composition of these materials demand a wider spectrum of transport temperatures, and, as a result, specialty logistics companies now offer services that can be divided into cryogenic temperatures (-80°C and -150°C), extremely low temperatures (-20°C), cold-chain (+2°C to +8°C), controlled ambient temperatures (+15°C to +25°C), and body temperature (+37°C) (1). The transport temperatures of these kinds of shipments are not only stringently regulated, but also monitored, and the data is logged in order to provide evidence that the conditions were maintained throughout the trip. This is of utmost importance when considering that in many of these instances, the transported products will be administered to patients. Where the integrity of the shipment has been compromised, it may negatively impact a patient’s health on the receiving end, or, in the worst case, even lead to a loss of life.

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Dr Corné Swart is the Head of Business Development at Cellbox Solutions, where he works very closely with customers and collaborators on innovative projects that require the shipment of live cells and tissues using portable CO2 incubators. Corné has a background in Biotechnology, which he obtained from his studies at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and Lund University, Sweden. After receiving his Master’s degree from Stellenbosch University, he went on to receive a PhD from the University of Potsdam, Germany, for his work in the field of proteomics, investigating the complex interplay between post-translational modifications and metabolism.
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