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IceStart™ ensures high and consistent cell viability by controlling ice nucleation and preventing harmful supercooling
IceStart™ is a biocompatible material which acts as an ice nucleant during the cooling of aqueous solutions. Compared with controls, IceStart™ induces ice nucleation closer to the melting point of the solution. As a result, IceStart significantly reduces the number of samples in which extreme undercooling occurs. This has a marked effect on both the number of cells recovered and the viability of the recovered cells, shown below with data from encapsulated hepatocytes.
IceStart™ recovery (left) and viability (right): Recovery and cell function of multicellular liver cell spheroids encapsulated in alginate 24 hours post thaw. Viable cell numbers were measured using metabolic and vital dyes (fluorescein diacetate and propidium iodide) and cell function was assessed by measuring total alpha-1-fetoprotein release. Cryopreservation was carried out using a slow cooling method with 12% v/v DMSO as a cryoprotectant. Samples were cooled either with icestart beads which were infused with the cryoprotectant just before cooling, or without beads. Viable cell recoveries and cell function were significantly improved when the icestart beads were present.
Work supported in part by MRC CASE studentship awarded to UCL Biomedicine and Asymptote Ltd.
Without IceStart samples experience supercooling during freezing which causes sharp temperature spikes and cell damage. IceStart is a catalyst which encourages ice nucleation. It substantially reduces harmful supercooling enabling consistent and repeatable cryopreservation.
After thawing, cells have a high and consistent viability and function. This enables long term storage of multiwell plates sourced from a single batch. The ready-to-use plates accelerate high throughput screening, improve QC and simplify testing logistics.