Automating the culture of clinically applicable cells

The Automation Partnership (TAP), a leader in the design and development of innovative automation for life science applications, today announced the new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine at Loughborough University is using TAP’s new CellBase CT to automate the culture of clinically applicable cells in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) environment.
The CellBase CT, which is the second system in TAP’s automated cell culture range to be sited at Loughborough University, was funded by the East Midlands Development Agency (emda). The system will be used by researchers in the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine initially to validate their GMP process of culturing autologous stem cells for clinical use. When the validation process is complete in 2011, the centre aims to collaborate with European and US biotech and pharma companies to produce early stage clinical material for use in trials to treat a number of disease areas which could benefit from a cell therapy approach.
The CellBase CT at the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine has been rigorously designed for aseptic, unattended operation. The system has the capacity to process up to 90 T-flasks at one time and expand cells from multiple patients in parallel, ensuring the centre’s scientists can continuously culture sufficient quantities of clinical grade stem cells in a contamination-free, GMP compliant environment.
David J Williams, Professor of Healthcare Engineering at Loughborough University explained: “Collaborating with TAP again is a natural continuation of the successful five year REMEDI consortium, in which both TAP and Loughborough were involved.  Our team at Loughborough is built of intensely practical engineers and biologists who recognise and can deliver what regulators mean by GMP compliance in our new facility. TAP is one of the few companies willing to take the time to ensure our CellBase CT delivers the stringent quality levels required and this is why we continue working with TAP.”
Tim Ward, Director of Cell Culture at TAP commented: “We are delighted that we have been able to work with Loughborough to refine our automated cell culture system and help them to validate it for this important application.  We believe that the new CellBase CT system is a major step forward in providing scalable and cost-effective production of autologous cell therapies, and that it will ultimately enable more patients to benefit from this exciting new area of medicine.  We will be previewing our new system at Invitrogen’s Cell Therapy Summit next week (3-5 Nov, Carlsbad) and look forward to meeting development scientists and discussing how CellBase CT could support their programmes to produce a validated method of affordable cell therapy production.”

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