Latest News

Optimizing Freezing Profiles

At Planer, we are frequently asked the question “How do we optimise our freezing profile for our controlled rate freezer to get the best results?”. We thought that a summary of a recent presentation by Allison Hubel, might provide some useful guidance. Allison, an expert in Cryobiology from the University of Minnesota, USA, gave an informative talk to the Stem Cell users Group and the Society of Low Temperature Biology meeting in Seville where she explained the key factors to consider when trying to optimise a freezing profile. Here is an outline of her presentation on "Optimizing Freezing Profiles"

Cryopreservation of a cell therapy
Cells therapies are becoming a standard of care for the treatment of disease and injury. Unlike other standard therapies (i.e. drugs and medical devices), cell therapies have a complex supply chain that requires viable, functional cells all along it. It is noteworthy that what happens along the supply and processing chain determines the quality of the product at the end. Cryopreservation of a cell therapy is a common method of stabilization along this complex supply chain. 

Cryopreservation typically requires 6 steps:
(1) Pre-freeze processing
(2) Formulation and introduction of a cryopreservation solution
(3) Freezing 
(4) Storage
(5) Thawing
(6) Post thaw characterization. 

Optimizing the freezing process
It has been known for almost 50 years that the rate of cooling has a strong influence on the post thaw recovery of cells.  Controlled rate freezing is often used to control the temperature as a function of time for cells being cooled; therefore improving both the recovery and consistency of outcome. 

A controlled cooling rate protocol has 5 steps: 
(1) Initial equilibration 
(2) Cooling
(3) Seeding of the sample 
(4) Secondary cooling
(5) Cooling to the final temperature. 

The initial equilibration stage of the freezing protocol enables samples placed in the controlled rate freezer to equilibrate with the freezer. Optimizing this step, in particular, helps to improve reproducibility of the freezing process. The cooling rate for the sample is the cooling rate used for both primary and secondary cooling of the sample. One degree C/min is a cooling rate commonly used for several cell types. 

Controlling the temperature at which ice forms in the extracellular solution
The temperature at which ice forms in the extracellular solution also plays an important role in the post thaw survival of cells.  There are several methods of controlling the temperature at which ice forms in the extracellular solution:  manual and automatic seeding.  Manual seeding requires the use of liquid nitrogen or a chilled instrument to induce nucleation and this approach is commonly used with cell types that require precise control of the nucleation temperature.  Automatic seeding results from a dip in the sample temperature in the region where nucleation for the purpose of inducing nucleation. Ultimately, the sample is cooled to a final temperature at which time it is transferred to a low temperature storage unit.

Debugging your freezing protocol
It is important to note that debugging your freezing protocol is straightforward; you can at any time stop the process, thaw the sample and determine viability. This approach allows us to determine if a particular segment of the controlled rate freezing protocol results in cell losses and a basis from which to change and optimize the protocol. Developing strategies for optimizing and debugging freezing protocols will be critical in the development and implementation of high efficiency cryopreservation protocols.

Allison's presentation at the 2019 SLTB meeting was extremely well received and generated some thought-provoking discussions during the meeting. For more information, her book "Preservation of cells. A practical manual" provides am extremely useful guide to explore the subject in greater detail.

For further information
More about Allison Hubel
"Preservation of cells. A practical manual" by Allison Hubel
BioCoR, University of Minnesota, and the science, technology and practice of bio preservation
Society of Low Temperature Biology

Healthy daughter from an embryo slow frozen and stored for 24 years

Healthy baby born after embryo slow frozen and stored for 24 years

Two years ago this November, baby Emma was born to Benjamin and Tina Gibson. The embryo that became Emma is, as far as is known, the longest frozen one resulting in a successful birth; it had been cryopreserved for more than 24 years prior to being thawed and transplanted.

The embryo was frozen in October 1992 and was thawed by the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) Lab director Carol Sommerfelt in March 2017. After frozen embryo transfer (FET) was performed by NEDC Medical director Dr Jeffrey Keenan, Tina Gibson 26 years old at the time, became pregnant with the donated embryo; it had been conceived just one and half years after her own birth!

"It is deeply moving and highly rewarding to see that embryos frozen 24.5 years ago using the old, early cryopreservation techniques of slow freezing on day one of development at the pronuclear stage can result in 100 percent survival of the embryos with a 100 percent continued proper development to the day-3 embryo stage," said Carol Sommerfelt. 

At that time the Planer 1.7 freezer was universally used for embryo freezing, although it’s use here cannot be definitely confirmed after twenty-five years.  In the 1990s most IVF centres cryopreserved embryos via the slow freezing Menezo method and used a Planer machine.

The NEDC runs a leading embryo adoption program, with nearly 900 pregnancies to its name. It helps utilise frozen embryos that would not otherwise be used by their genetic parents to assist sub fertile couples via donated embryo ‘adoption’.

Further information:
National Embryo Donation Center  www.embryodonation.org
Mark Mellinger This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Blastocyst Cryopreservation, 1995 paper: Kaufmann, Menezo et al https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(16)57972-2/pdf
19-year frozen embryo birth https://planer.com/company/news/news-2013/273-2013-2/598-birth-from-an-embryo-frozen-19-years.html

Planer at ISFP


The 6th World Congress of the International Society for Fertility Preservation (ISFP) will be taking place on 14th – 16th November in New York, USA. Over the past twenty years the demand for fertility preservation has grown dramatically – with the goal of improving the quality of life of young cancer survivors and helping those wishing to postpone reproduction due to medical or non-medical conditions. At ISFP this year, there will also be a pre-congress course on the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue, which will include a number of practical sessions.

Planer is delighted to be supporting and exhibiting at this year’s congress. Come and meet the Planer team to find out more about our range of products:

  • Kryo 360 programmable freezer, which is ideal for the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue,
  • ShipsLog3™ temperature data logger which provides an accurate and downloadable temperature history of your vapour shipper throughout its transit to help the safe transportation of samples
  • DATAssure™ laboratory wireless alarm and monitoring system, which can help monitor and prevent the accidental loss of samples

To find out more
6th World Congress of the International Society for Fertility Preservation (ISFP)
Planer Kryo 360 programmable freezers
Download our Kryo 360 specification sheet
ShipsLog3™ temperature data logger
DATAssure™ wireless monitoring system

Middle East Fertility Society Annual Meeting

Middle East Fertility Society (MEFS) Annual MeetingThe Middle East Fertility Society’s (MEFS) meeting will be taking place this year from 31st October to 2nd November in Cairo at the InterContinental Cairo Citystars hotel. Over the three days, experts from around the world will be speaking on broad range of themes, highlighting the latest in reproductive medicine.

If you are going to MEFS, do come and talk to the Planer team – we will be on the Modern Biosystems’ booth. Find out more about our range of products including our DATAssure™ laboratory wireless alarm and monitoring system, which can help monitor and prevent the accidental loss of samples, our compact CT37stax™ benchtop incubator and our selection of controlled rate freezers.

For further information
Middle East Fertility Society
DATAssure™ wireless monitoring system
CT37stax™ benchtop incubator
The Planer range of controlled rate freezers

Ovarian Club XIV

2019 Ovarian Club CongressThe Ovarian Club XIV Congress will be taking place in Paris from the 7th-9th November at the Westin Paris – Vendôme. The Ovarian Club brings together scientists, clinicians and embryologists who have a common interest in all facets of ovarian function, including oocyte and early embryo development and the implantation process. At this year’s meeting there Is also a pre-congress fertility preservation workshop, chaired by Professor Dror Meirow, with a particular focus on ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation.

Planer is delighted to support this year’s Ovarian Club meeting. Come and talk to our team to find out more about:-

  • The Planer Kryo 360 controlled rate freezer, which is being used by a number of leading clinicians around the world for the slow freezing of ovarian tissue
  • ShipsLog3™ temperature data logger which provides an accurate and downloadable temperature history of your vapour shipper throughout its transit to help the safe transportation of samples
  • DATAssure™ laboratory wireless alarm and monitoring system, which can help monitor cryopreserved samples to prevent accidental loss

To find out more
Ovarian Club XIV Meeting
Planer Kryo 360 programmable freezers
Download our Kryo 360 specification sheet
ShipsLog3™ temperature data logger
DATAssure™ wireless monitoring system

Successful cryopreservation and transplantation of ovarian tissue workshop at PSRM

Ovarian tissue cryopreservation and transplantation workshop at PRSM
Recently Professor Dolmans and Christiani Amorim, from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) in Belgium, led a workshop on the cryopreservation and transplantation of human ovarian tissue at the Pacific Society for Reproductive Medicine (PSRM) conference. The 2019 PSRM conference, which is a biennial event, was held this time in the Royal Cliff Hotel, Pattaya, Thailand.

The UCLouvain team has worked for many years on researching and developing the techniques required for the successful cryopreservation and transplantation of ovarian tissue. They now run workshops and courses around the world to help increase the understanding and use of this important fertility preservation technique.

The course, impeccably organised by Professor Paweena Thuwanut, was attended by participants from clinical centres, from the Pacific region, demonstrating that this technique, despite still being considered experimental in some countries, is growing in popularity. The worldwide number of successful live births recorded continues to grow year-on-year as this technique becomes more widely available.

The team at the University uses a Planer Kryo 360 -1.7 to perform the cryopreservation of the ovarian tissue as this has proven to provide consistent successful results. There are now many centres around the world that have reported the benefits of slow freezing when cryopreserving ovarian tissue and Planer is proud to be associated with this important technique that can result in many women going on to have children, sometimes naturally, even after cancer treatment.

The team from UCLouvain is already planning further courses, including a one day workshop on Thursday 14thNovember at the 2019 International Society for Fertility Preservation conference in New York.

For further information
Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)
Pacific Society for Reproductive Medicine (PSRM) conference
International Society for Fertility Preservation conference
Planer Kryo 360-1.7 controlled rate freezer

Download our latest PetriSense®ST specification sheet

PetriSense-ST-sensor monitors CO2 and related pHOur PetriSense®ST 35mm petri dish sized sensor provides standalone monitoring of CO2 and related pH in a variety of laboratory equipment for periods up to 12 hours for validation purposes, without the need for retrofit or modification.

Removes need for sensors in each piece of equipment to validate CO2 and pH

The PetriSense®ST is portable and easy to fit in various types of laboratory equipment enabling it to be switched between different units for validation of CO2 and pH when required, hence removing the need for an expensive sensor in each piece of equipment.

  • Easy to Install
    Quickly fits into a variety of laboratory equipment and USB connection to PC
  • Reliable
    Provides continual monitoring over a period of time rather than ‘point in time’ readings
  • Peace of Mind
    Monitoring  provides early warning of potentially damaging changes in pH
  • Cost effective
    Reduces need for labour intensive manual pH checks or the need for an expensive retrofit modification of your equipment
  • Helps regulatory compliance
    The PetriSense®ST provides a full auditable trail for regulatory compliance.

The PetriSense®ST sensor is ideal for monitoring CO2 and related pH in our range of benchtop incubators – the CT37stax™ high capacity incubator and our compact BT37 benchtop incubator. Please get in touch with the sales team at Planer Ltd, if you would like to find out more.

For further information
Read more about the PetriSense®ST sensor
Download the latest PetriSense®ST sensor specification sheet
CT37stax™ multi chamber incubator
BT37 benchtop incubator, with humidity control
INC-A20 benchtop incubator, without humidity control

ASRM 2019

ASRM 2019 - Come and see the Planer teamThe 2019 American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) Scientific Congress and Exhibition will be held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, from 12th – 16th October. Experts from around the world will be discussing the latest in reproductive care, with a particular focus this year on stem cell biology.

Come and catch up with the Planer team, on the Hamilton Thorne stand, booth 1027. Our, soon to be released, PIMSsolo user interface unit will be on display, along with our CT37stax™ benchtop incubator and DATAssure™, our independent monitoring and alarm system for laboratories.

To find out more
ASRM’s 2019 Scientific Congress and Exhibition
Planer CT37stax™ benchtop incubator
DATAssure™ independent monitoring system

News Stories - 2019

News Stories - 2018

News Stories - 2017