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Devices for Improved Tissue Cryopreservation and Recovery

Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), have developed a cryopreservation and cell recovery system designed specifically for the efficient cryopreservation, transportation and subsequent thawing of monolayers and tissues on a substrate. This closed cryopreservation/defrost system allows for sterility in addition to increased viability, recovery and safety of tissues that can be used for in vitro culture or surgical transplantation.
NIH Reference Number
Product Type
  • Cryopreservation, Defrost, Cell thawing, Cell recovery, Cell therapy, Tissue transplant, National Eye Institute, NEI
Collaboration Opportunity
This invention is available for licensing and co-development.
Description of Technology

Problem: Cryopreservation is a process where living biological materials like cells, tissues, and cell therapies (which are susceptible to damage caused by unregulated chemical kinetics) are preserved by cooling to very low temperatures in the presence of specific cryopreservation media that protects the biological material from damage. In order to be used, the biological material ideally should be thawed in a controlled manner that minimizes damage and desirably brings the material back to a viable state. While this is not a problem for single cell suspensions, cryopreservation and efficient revival of sheets or layers of tissues and three-dimensional tissue constructs, is inefficient. Layers of tissue and three-dimensional tissue constructs can suffer damage from tensional stresses experienced during expansion and contractions that occur during freezing and thawing. Several other problems exist with conventional cryopreservation: 1) Uneven physical changes within the tissue during cooling or warming can cause damage to the tissue, 2) Conventional cryopreservation media can be toxic to the tissues in a non-frozen state and can render the tissues not suitable for later recovery, culturing, and transplantation in engineered cell and other tissue therapies, and 3) The sterility of the tissue during the thawing process is usually compromised.

Technical Solution: The technology developed by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) is a closed recovery device consisting of three chambers that allow for the separation of media and frozen tissue until it is time to defrost the tissue. The top portion is a media chamber controlled by a valve/lumen. The middle chamber houses the frozen tissue and the bottom chamber is a waste receptacle. The recovery device can be placed in a regulator apparatus that facilitates thawing and warming of the frozen tissue/cryopreservation media inside the tissue container.

Collaboration Opportunity: The inventor is interested in building other versions of the prototype device and testing them for performance. A collaboration or license interest is sought.  

Potential Commercial Applications
  • Transport, Storage and Recovery of cells, tissues for in vitro culture
  • In vivo experiments including cell therapy transplantation
Competitive Advantages
  • Current cryopreservation containers are less successful with confluent cells and need a large volume of toxic cryopreservation media, which hampers subsequent cell recovery and culturing. A cryopreservation/defrost system that uses minimal volume of cryopreservation media and conducts automated cell thawing and recovery for cell monolayers and 3D tissues can be useful in many clinical applications, such as transplantation.

Vladimir Khristov (NEI), Arvydas Maminishkis (NEI), Kapil Bharti (NEI)

Development Stage
Patent Status
  • U.S. Provisional: U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 62/453,148, Filed 01 Feb 2017
Therapeutic Area
Friday, April 14, 2017