So to round off our 45th year in business, we have produced an illustrated profile which looks at our internal operations, history, product range and the role that our distributor family have played in our success.
At the same time we would like to thank colleagues and collaborators for their help since we started in 1973. Our company has evolved from pioneering one off machines for cryogenic researchers to becoming the gold standard supplier of equipment for cell preservation across a broad range of fields including IVF, cryobiology and stem cell research with a range of freezers, incubators and laboratory monitoring systems that help achieve many notable scientific breakthroughs.
The Ovarian Club is a unique meeting that brings together leading experts to share knowledge and experience in all facets of ovarian function. The meeting is a gathering of scientists, clinicians and embryologists who have a common interest in oocyte and early embryo development and the implantation process.
The 2018 meeting addressed the challenge of bridging science and clinical practice, focusing on ovarian function from oocyte recruitment to the stages of implantation and embryo development.
Prior to this meeting in Paris, a fertility preservation workshop was held under the direction of leading Fertility Preservation expert Professor Dror Meirow from Israel. The workshop was a hands-on clinical and laboratory program designed for medical doctors, embryologists and scientists who are interested in learning, discussing and practicing principals, clinical issues and different techniques of fertility preservation.
The workshop focused on the cryopreservation and transplantation of ovarian cortical tissue. Lectures focused on tissue harvesting, laboratory techniques, tissue transport, tissue evaluation and storing and documentation.
Ovarian Tissue Preservation is becoming well established as a viable technique for fertility preservation especially for pre-pubescent teenagers and patients undergoing cancer treatment. There have now been over 130 successful births worldwide. Cryopreservation, from controlled slow freezing, proving to provide the greatest chance of success with over 125 of the births resulting from ovarian tissue preserved using this technique.
The Planer Kryo 360 freezer has been at the forefront of the development of ovarian tissue cryopreservation and continues to be used by clinics throughout the world that are offering this option to their patients.
Since the launch of our CT37stax™ benchtop incubator in 2017, we have talked extensively to our distributors and customers, who have used the incubator, to get important feedback. Based on this information, our engineering team have been busy working on a number of improvements that are now ready to be released.
These new features will be fitted to all CT37stax™ models at no additional cost.
NEW – Soft closing incubator lids
We have added a soft close mechanism to the lid of each incubation chamber. This dampener will ensure the lid of the incubation chamber will always close smoothly even if accidentally knocked or dropped during manual closing.
NEW – Incubator Chamber Movement Controller
We have also added a mechanism that controls the speed of movement of the incubation chambers as they move in and out of the stack. The mechanism provides a smooth consistent speed ensuring that there are no sudden movement or forces applied to the embryo being cultured inside the chamber.
NEW – Improved Incubation Chamber Locking Mechanism
To reduce the risk of accidental disconnection of the incubation chamber from the stack, we have added an additional mechanical securing device to each chamber shelf to hold the chamber in place.
NEW - Reusable Humidification Water Trays
Each CT37stax™ incubator will be issued with a set of plastic humidification water trays which will last up to 4 weeks with regular refilling, however there is now the option to purchase stainless steel water trays that can be sterilised and reused.
We will of course continue to develop further improvements as more feedback is received from the market.
Find out more about the CT37stax™ benchtop incubator
Download the CT37stax™ benchtop incubator brochure
Download the CT37stax™ benchtop incubator specification sheet
Planer will be supporting our local distributor, IEPSA Medical Diagnostics, who will be exhibiting our latest CT37stax™ benchtop incubator and our DATAssure™ laboratory wireless alarm and monitory system at the Reproductive Medicine conference on the 23 – 25 November 2018 at the Ekurhuleni International Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
The conference’s main goal is to improve the reproductive health of all women from puberty to menopause. Discussions will be held on the latest developments in Assisted Reproductive Technology and its practical application in day-to-day clinical practice. This meeting will be a sharing of ideas on the current evidence-based investigation and management of fertility and the latest update on surgery to improve fertility.
Distinguished experts, from leading South African and international institutions, will be speaking. The conference presents an ideal opportunity to interact with colleagues and create lasting relationships.
Prior to the conference, IEPSA have organised a customer workshop covering a wide variety of topics including providing the optimum incubator environment, ensuring the safety of the samples in the ART clinic, Immunoassay Hormone Testing and Easy, Fast and Specific depletion of unwanted apoptotic spermatozoa.
Come and see the Planer team at Fertility 2019, the Joint Conference of the Association of Clinical Embryologists, British Fertility Society and the Society for Reproduction & Fertility.
The conference will be held at the ICC, in the heart of Birmingham from 3rd – 5th January 2019. This year's theme will be “Technologies and controversies in reproduction” and will feature a range of international speakers focusing on specialist areas in fertility and reproductive biology.
Don't forget to drop by stand 62 to see the Planer team and to find out more about our latest CT37stax™ benchtop incubator and our DATAssure™ laboratory wireless alarm and monitory system.
If you would like to arrange an appointment in advance to discuss our benchtop incubators or our alarms and monitoring products, please get in touch. We would be pleased to hear from you.
Professor Allison Hubel, pictured here, recently presented to a National Academy of Engineering meeting in Washington on the role of Preservation in the variability of Regenerative Medicine products.
In the talk she emphasised that seemingly subtle effects can have a profound end effect on sample thaw recovery. As such an understanding of the scientific basis for each step is critical in preventing poor outcomes - very relevant to the expanding field of 'personalised medicine' products.
Allison, of Minnesota University, Department of Mechanical Engineering, covered topics on the criticality of cell collection (the temperatures at which a sample was held pending freezing for example), the actual pre-freeze processing, the dangers of transient warming events and the need to correctly undertake post thaw assessment. The sources of variation at post thaw assessment could be such as failing to calculate cell losses due to lysis, failure to account for the effects of post thaw apoptosis and failure to optimise an assay.
Specialist resource for practitioners and researchers
The BioCoR unit, run by Professor Hubel, is a specialist resource for practitioners and researchers interested in the practicalities of the preservation of biological specimens, many of which, although of tremendous interest, cannot be effectively preserved. For example, those responding poorly to conventional preservation are platelets which can only be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days and granulocytes for only 24 hours. For hESCs current methods with the best outcome are appropriate only for small scale applications as they exhibit poor post-thaw colony attachment and high degrees of differentiation, whist the freezing behaviour of IPS cells has been little studied at all. This topic is expanded at https://www.biocor.umn.edu/about/why-biocor
For further information
Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR) University of Minnesota
The unit provides many facilities for people interested in the wider field of cell preservations: support courses, newsletters, hands on training plus a library.
Preserving fertility with ovarian tissue transplantation
Embryologist Media, a non-profit project mainly related to ART, posts a useful summary of ovarian cryopreservation. The article says "Currently, embryo and oocyte cryopreservation are the only fertility preservation techniques that are considered to be non-experimental by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Unfortunately, both approaches require previous preparation and stimulation with gonadotropins for oocyte retrieval, which usually requires 2-4 weeks or longer. Furthermore, oocyte harvest typically involves the use of transvaginal ultrasound and needle oocyte retrieval techniques, which could require general anaesthesia. This delay is often not appropriate for females requiring urgent therapy or in breast cancer patients, because high oestrogen levels might have detrimental effects on the primary tumour. Additionally, not all patients have partners with whom to create embryos for cryopreservation. Most clearly, these techniques are not indicated for young and pre-pubertal female patients due to the inability of their immature hypothalamic-pituitary axis to produce mature eggs. Under these circumstances, the possibility of cryopreservation of ovarian tissue (cortex) has become an urgent and highly demanded technology for two types of young female cancer patients. First, those who must undergo advanced chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. Second, those with non-oncological systemic diseases such as autoimmune or haematological conditions, that sometimes require chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or bone marrow transplantation." The article continues with a description of some of the techniques.
The aim of Embryologist Media is to give the latest news in the field of assisted reproduction, spreading knowledge and initiating discussions about related topics. It has no commercial relationships with the ART industry.
For further information
Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation. Current procedures and outcomes
The Italian press reports that a woman gave birth, to a son from stored cryopreserved ovarian tissue retrieved while she was fighting cancer – the first such report from Italy.
Back in 2012 doctors told the woman, from Brescia and who is now thirty-five years old, that she had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She went to the Sant'Orsola hospital in Bologna for the removal of ovarian tissue, via anaesthesia and laparoscopy. The tissue was cryo stored with the aim of fertility restoration after her treatment of chemo- and radio-therapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation.
In an increasingly common procedure, the tissue is immersed in cryo-protectant solutions and is frozen in a series of cooling steps in a Planer controlled rate freezer, before being transferred for storage in a liquid nitrogen tank at -196 ℃. The controlled rate and gradual lowering of the temperature during the freezing helps the viability of the tissue post thaw.
In 2016 Raffaella Fabbri published a paper in The Journal of Ovarian Research, concluding that " ...ovarian tissue stored for 18 years showed a good morphology post thaw..." and that long term storage does not impact tissue preservation.
With this patient, as is common, the outcome of the cancer treatment resulted in premature menopause and infertility. Four years later, after having recovered, she returned to Sant’Orsola hospital for reimplantation of thawed ovarian tissue. The team of specialists carefully transplanted a few pieces of tissue on both remaining ovaries. The first reimplantation showed few signs of recovery, so a second implant was undertaken and within two months a menstrual cycle reappeared, and a pregnancy was achieved two months later.
Raffaella Fabbri, pictured here, is the embryologist responsible for the ovarian tissue cryopreservation procedure at Sant'Orsola hospital along with biologists Dr Rossella Vicenti and Dr Maria Macciocca; Renato Seracchioli is the surgeon who carried out the actual reimplantation. To date, this technique has resulted in over 130 births from oncological patients worldwide.