Cryopreservation of bone material and isolated stem cells at the UKSH

The BONEBANK project tests the storage conditions necessary to ensure the quality of biomaterial samples throughout their storage life until later use.

How can stem cells be optimally stored?

In order to study the optimal storage conditions, bone samples are collected during routine operations in the Clinic for Orthopedics and Traumatology of the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH) in Lübeck and then transported to the Interdisciplinary Center for Biobanking-Lübeck (ICB-L). The bone material is processed in the ICB-L and from a portion of the bone material, the bone stem cells are isolated according to standardized work instructions. The remaining bone material and the isolated bone stem cells are subsequently transferred with special freezing liquids into designated bar coded freezing tubes. The samples are then stored by specialized personnel in the automated nitrogen tanks at temperatures below -150°C in the ICB-L. For further investigations, the stored isolated bone stem cells and the bone material are thawed. Here, the focus is on whether it is possible to isolate stem cells after freezing. In order to check the quality of the samples after storage in the biobank, the stem cells are examined for their differentiability and their growth behaviour. The main aim is to optimize the storage process in such a way that the bone stem cells can be used for therapeutic use in regenerative medicine.


Isolation and cultivation of stem cells

Since May 2017, we have collected bone material from more than 15 patients at UKSH. The first results show that viable stem cells could be isolated and cultured from the initially frozen bone material after thawing, and that the frozen isolated stem cells were vigorous and cultivable after thawing. In the next step we will check whether a long-term storage in the biobank has an influence on the differentiability of the stem cells and how far one can optimize the freezing and thawing process.