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Haemato-oncology Cryostore

This facility, based in the Rayne Institute on the Denmark Hill Campus cost £122,294 and has been funded using a capital grant awarded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) through the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) network. The grant was secured by Professor Farzin Farzaneh, Professor of Molecular Medicine, and Dr Nigel Westwood, Tissue Bank Manager, King’s College London Haemato-Oncology Tissue Bank, with the help of Professors Peter Parker and Arne Purushotham.

What is the cryostore?

The Cryostore is a facility to store human tissue for very long periods of time. The stored tissue can then be used for transplantation, cellular therapies and research in the future.

It consists of several tanks containing liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C). Samples are stored the liquid nitrogen vapour, which keeps them frozen in a state of suspended animation.

The tanks have the capacity for us to store 48,200 vials of cells and approximately 100 packs of cell therapy products.A 2,000 litre tank outside our building supplies the liquid nitrogen to the tissue storage tanks inside.


Staff in the new Cryostore

Why did we need it?

Haematological Medicine has two tissue banks:

The King’s College London Haemato-Oncology Tissue Bank stores tissues (eg bone marrow) from patients with blood cancers. The tissues are used for our own research and we supply collaborators elsewhere in the UK and occasionally abroad. We have 7,000 samples stored to date and needed more capacity for the future.

The Rayne Cell Therapy Suite is an experimental cellular therapies unit. We are developing genetically engineered leukaemia vaccines and other cellular therapies. Tissues from potential patients and cellular therapy products are stored pending their inclusion in trials of these novel therapies.

Both banks are licensed by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA). The Rayne Cell Therapy suite is also accredited by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The new Cryostore will help us to comply with the stringent quality and security standards required by these regulators.

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