Robot-assisted cultivation of stem cells

By using assembly robots with clean room approval, laboratory processes can be automated in the tightest of spaces. The use of liquid handling units saves users the daily pipetting processes common in cell cultivation.

Development of automated laboratory processes

The laboratory of the future

© Fraunhofer IPT

Development of automated pipetting processes

Automation is increasingly finding its way into biotechnological laboratory and production environments. It allows throughput and reproducibility to be increased and thus safe products to be manufactured in efficient processes. However, not only the right device is sufficient for automation - the processes also have to be translated and optimized accordingly. That's why we develop automatable protocols even for complex biotechnological processes.

One example of such time-consuming and labour-intensive processes is the proliferation of stem cells. The Fraunhofer IPT offers technical solutions for the automated cultivation of stem cells in order to reduce the effort and reduce errors caused by human interaction with the cells. We draw on experience from past and current projects in which we have developed fully automated systems for the production of induced pluripotent or mesenchymal stem cells for research and therapy. Using intelligent process control and individual measurement technology, the cells are produced in 2D culture or in a bioreactor. Particular attention is paid to compliance with GMP/GAMP recommendations (Good Manufacturing Practice/Good Automated Manufacturing Practice) so that biological processes are carried out in accordance with these guidelines.

The GMP Wiki was developed at the Fraunhofer IPT for the implementation of these guidelines. In this Wiki, the design requirements resulting from the GMP guidelines are considered, so that the development of new designs is carried out in accordance with GMP. In addition, the GMP Wiki is currently being extended to include software, so that the software developed is checked and validated in accordance with the guidelines in Appendix 11 of the GMP Guideline.

Our service

  • Support in the automation of laboratory processes
  • Creation of automation concepts
  • Automation of liquid handling processes
  • Automation and optimization of laboratory protocols
  • GMP-compliant process automation
  • High-speed microscopy
  • Deep learning image evaluation algorithms

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In the current funding period, StemCellFactory will be used to establish methods for the automated production of patient- and disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from easily obtainable blood samples. In order to optimally map the effect of individual genetic changes on cellular disease processes, the recently available method of genome editing (CRISPR-Cas9) is being integrated as an automated process for the first time. Brain tissue-like 3D aggregates (organoids) generated from iPS cells in a standardized way are used for metabolic studies of patient-specific drug dosage and prediction of effect and side effects. Test systems and platform technologies are generated for direct application in therapy planning and development.

Applications

Automated cell
production

The Fraunhofer IPT develops fully automated systems for the production of pluripotent or mesenchymal stem cells. The systems can produce cells in high throughput or large volumes for scaled production. State-of-the-art technology ensures optimum quality control.

 

 

Pipetting process
development

In many cases, the automation of laboratory protocols involves pipetting processes. Based on our many years of experience with liquid handling systems, we have created a library of function blocks that fully automates a wide range of pipetting processes.

Automation of
laboratory protocols

The processing of cells requires many steps, such as media change, separation and seeding of cells, cryopreservation, genome meditation or sample handling for quality control. In our projects we develop automated protocols for the reproducible handling of cells.

Projects

StemCellFactory

The project uses standardized and integrated methods for personalized stem cell-based drug prediction to develop test systems for drug testing and pharmacotherapy in the field of neuropsychiatric diseases.

Automated cell
production

Stem cells are promising candidates for cell therapy. In the EU project AUTOSTEM, a fully automated system was developed to produce cells in a robot-assisted environment.

StemCellDiscovery

The automation of biotechnological processes has many advantages - but it often requires large investments. In order to test and optimize these processes, the Fraunhofer IPT has developed the "StemCellDiscovery". The fully automated laboratory is available as a testbed for cooperating universities and companies.