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Cell Thawing in a Controlled Environment

Thawing cells in a regulated environment presents many challenges. The need to minimize variability through standardization is crucial. Whereas the science of cell freezing has become highly standardized in order to improve and retain optimal viability and function, cell thawing has been overlooked and has much to gain from similar standardization.

by BioCision

Dangers of Ice Recrystallization

Ice recrystallization during thawing is a commonly observed phenomenon whereby small ice crystals generated during freezing can grow into larger crystals capable of damaging cells. Therefore, a rapid and controlled rate of thawing is just as important as a controlled rate of freezing in retaining optimal cell survival and function.

Water baths are often used for thawing, but can introduce contamination, making them unsuitable for GMP processes. Furthermore, thawing endpoints are subjective, left up to the individual researcher, and prone to variability. Dry baths are less than ideal because the thaw time is 2-3 times longer than conventional water bath thawing times.

Thawing in a GMP Environment and Within a Biosafety Cabinet

ThawSTAR™ automated cell thawing system is an intuitive and rapid cell thawing method that requires no programming and no buttons to push. Simply insert the frozen vial (from LN2 or -80°C stores) and wait for the vial to thaw. The adaptive sensing technology detects and monitors vial temperature and thawing profile and the vial is gently ejected when the endpoint is determined. The thermal profile and thaw time mirrors that obtained from a water bath, but without the risk of contamination or the subjectivity in endpoint determination. The small footprint enables use in a laminar flow hood.

Comparing Thaw-STAR to a 37°C Water Bath and a Dry Bath

In numerous studies by highly regarded institutions such as UCSF, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Children’s National Hospital and Blood Systems Research Institute, the Thaw- STAR system was tested with cell lines, PBMC, mesenchymal stem cells and other cell types and provided equivalent cell viability and recovery as that achieved when using a water bath or a dry bath. The ease of use, reproducibility and ability to use ThawSTAR automated cell thawing system in a laminar flow hood make it the new standard for cell thawing.

Standardizing the Entire Process

When paired with the ThawSTAR™ CFT Transporter, the thawing process can be standardized from the point of vial retrieval from frozen storage through thawing. With 150g of dry ice in the base, up to 5 cryogenic vials can be held at dry ice temperature for an hour and, subsequently inserted into the ThawSTAR thawing instrument at the same starting temperature.

For detailed product information, please read the white paper or contact BioCision at