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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Enhancing Human cells cryopreservation/bio-banking using natural compounds

The findings of this study will have far- reaching clinical applications related to cell biopreservation and bioprocessing involved in cell-based therapies.

Professor Nigel Slater, lead PI of CEB Bioscience Engineering group,  and Dr Noha A. Al-Otaibi, former researcher at the group, along with Dr Hassan Rahmoune, and in close collaboration with Dr Martins-de-Souza (Campinas University, Brazil), have recently published the study “Human Leukaemia cells (HL-60) proteomic and biological signatures underpinning cryo-damage are differentially modulated by novel cryo-additives” in GigaScience Journal – Read the full article here.

This study is driven by the importance of biobanking and bioprocessing cells, tissues and organs for healthcare research and industries. It is focused on understanding the modulation effect of protective agents under the cryopreserving condition, which is the most reliable approach for prolonged storage. The application of novel protective agents Sal and Nig limits the toxicity effect of conventional protective agents (e.g. DMSO, glycerol or trehalose).

The Bioscience and Engineering group at CEB established the first and largest targeted study that aimed at deciphering proteomic and the corresponding biological profile (e.g Oxido/Redox, protein, lipid oxidation and cells recovery and proliferation) of human cells HL-60. The findings highlighted the compromised pathways by conventional cryopreservation media and the successful modulation effect of the novel cryo-additive agents. Predominantly, their findings have clearly shown that Nig reduces specifically protein oxidation while Nig or Sal both reduce lipid cryo-oxidation and that both CPAs induce a reductive environment. The most striking finding generated by the current study is that post thaw, Sal increased the level of intracellular proteins that are associated with nuclear activities and, subsequently, increased cell proliferation in the recovery phase.

The present discoveries are not only establishing the mechanisms and modulation of cells cryo-damage but also contributing to the enhancement of existing cryo-media formulation for many purposes. The value of the findings will have far-reaching clinical applications related to cell bio-preservation and bio-processing involved in cell-based therapies (e. g. Fertility treatment, stem cell therapy, cancer treatment) as well as enhancing the prognostic of future organ transplant and/or regenerative tissue based therapies.

This research study has been funded by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where CEB alumna Dr Al-Otaibi now works at the Life Science and Environment Research Institute. She has previously acknowledged the important role KACST has played in this study by funding her research work at CEB. 

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