March 2019


A special thanks to this issue's contributors: Dr. Peter Kilbride, Dr. Krishnaa Mahbubani, Dr. Bradley Weegman,

Dr. Alireza Abazari, Dr. Simona Baicu, Mitch Rostad, and Dr. Kate Franz

Edited by Dr. Alyssa Ward

Email with news, comments, or questions about the Briefings.

Click here to see the past Biopreservation Briefings!


OPA hosting organ cryopreservation sessions at CRYO 2019

OPA is organizing two sessions at the international Society for Cryobiology annual meeting in San Diego this July: a plenary session on recent breakthroughs in high subzero temperature organ banking, and a roundtable workshop on standardization and diversification of approaches in tissue cryopreservation . We hope to see you there! 


First work product from the Living Biobank Special Interest Group

Last Briefings, we announced that OPA and ISBER are working together to launch a ‘living biobank’ special interest group. We’re happy that we’ve got a joint editorial explaining the promise of living biobanks to improve fields from basic science to translational precision medicine. We are excited about the promise of preserving living specimens and even more so about our excellent and engaged partners in this effort!


High subzero preservation webinar from Dr. Shannon Tessier

As part of the "Needs and Leads" webinar series organized by the American Society of Transplantation (AST)'s Recovery and Preservation Community of Practice (RAP COP), Dr. Shannon Tessier has explained nature-inspired high subzero organ preservation protocols, which hold great promise to help patients gain access to transplantation. Dr. Shannon Tessier is affiliated with the Organ Reengineering group at MGH, led by Dr, Korkut Uygun,

To join the community and view this and other webinars, click here. Or click here to access the community hub if you're already an AST RAP COP member. To nominate a topic or speaker (including yourself), email



We're continuing to play with the timing of the Biopreservation Briefings issues and having tried both quarterly and monthly issues, we've decided to release these ad hoc in order to keep the news the freshest and conserve organizational bandwidth. This may be our last regularly scheduled newsletter for the time being, but we still want to hear all your news, so email when you have some!


Jump to: OPA updates or News from our network

Recent papers that caught the eye of our multi-institute Organ Banking Journal Club. If you're interested in joining, contact to learn more!


Monkeying around to preserve fertility

“Grady” the graft-derived macaque at 2-week checkup.  Photo credit Fayomi et al. 2019

“Grady” the graft-derived macaque at 2-week checkup. Photo credit Fayomi et al. 2019

While childhood cancers are often treatable, the effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments leave about 30% of the survivors infertile as adults. Unlike adults, prepubertal children do not have mature eggs or sperm to cryopreserve, making tissue preservation the only option to maintain fertility for those facing gonadotoxic chemotherapy.

Science recently published work by Fayomi et al. to test a method of testicular tissue preservation in a macaque model of prepubertal cancer. They first removed and cryopreserved (slow programmed freezing) testicular tissue from prepubertal macaques for up to 5 months. Cryopreserved and fresh tissue was then autologously grafted onto the backs and scrotum and after 8-12 months all of the grafts grew and completed spermatogenesis. Researchers could even isolate live sperm from 26 of the 32 grafts.

The methods to isolate sperm from the grafts caused some damage to the sperm, however researchers were still able to use isolated sperm to fertilize eggs and transfer embryos into recipient females. One of the 11 transfers led to a pregnancy and live birth. The first primate born of sperm from transplanted tissue was named Grady (pictured left) and has scored within the normal range on his assessments (up to 6 months). This represents an excellent proof-of-concept that primate fertility preservation is possible, offering hope where no options previously existed.

This exciting work was covered widely in popular and scientific media (e.g. BBC, National Geographic, Nature News, and Scientific American). - Dr. Alyssa Ward



Cryoprotectant agents (CPA) are crucial to inhibit ice formation and enable viable storage and vitrification of cells and tissues at cryogenic temperatures. Vitrification in particular requires very high concentrations of CPAs, but their application is limited by the toxicity of the compounds– increasing concentrations are more viscous and take increasing amounts of time to load and more time causes decreased viability and toxic effects. Solving CPA toxicity would not only eliminate the viability problem during loading but would catalyze solutions to other existing barriers to widespread organ banking, for example freeze-injury and ice formation.

If cellular pathways that protect during CPA exposure were identified, this could allow for either pharmacological intervention during CPA loading or genetic modification of bioengineered organs to enhance resistance and ultimately help bank organs for transplant. In a new study by Cypser et al., they used a genetic approach to identify such resistance pathways. Using transposon-mutagenesis of mouse embryonic stem cells and selecting colonies in M22, a CPA used in vitrification, they identified 9 possible mutations that significantly increased viability during CPA exposure. Interestingly, they found that some of the mutations were broadly protective against multiple CPAs and mutated cells were more resistant to freeze-thaw cycles, suggesting that the mutations protected against freeze-injury in addition to toxicity.

Although none of the hits suggested a specific or unique protective pathway, some hits like Hes1 and Myc have known pharmacological modulators that could be further tested for a viability benefit. - Dr. Kate Franz


Jump to: OPA updates or Selected publications

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Society for Cryobiology Young Investigator Award

The Society for Cryobiology is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new Young Investigator Award aimed at researchers who are in their first 10 years of post-PhD career. The award carries a $5,000 prize, and the winner will also be invited to speak at CRYO2019, the 56th Annual Meeting of the Society for Cryobiology, to be held in San Diego, July 22-25, 2019. 

The award is open to researchers from around the world, conducting research in any area of low temperature biology or medicine. Applicants do not have to be members of the Society for Cryobiology. 

For more information and to apply please visit the Young Investigator Award page of the CRYO2019 website. The deadline for applications is Midnight May 1, 2019 (US/Pacific).


University of Minnesota hosts a short course on preservation for cellular therapeutics

The Biopreservation Core Resource is hosting a short course on the preservation of cellular therapies. The course focuses on topics ranging from protocol development and facility design to regulatory issues in cell preservation. Click here to find out more information and to register.



The exponential growth of the cell therapy industry has resulted in a demand for the solutions to improve scalability, automate processes, reduce labor costs, and maintain quality assurance, which can be solved by applying engineering principles.  

ASME is pleased to introduce a new online course, Cell Manufacturing for Engineers, addressing the critical need to integrate biological concepts and engineering processes. It is designed specifically to provide an education on cell culture techniques, manufacturing and production processes, and regulatory and other business requirements.

Engineers, bioengineers and businesses can part of the revolution of healthcare by delivering solutions toward automation, reproduction and scalability of cell manufacturing.

Please visit us at for course availability and to sign up for updates. Your free subscription includes access to Frost & Sullivan market insights as well as exclusive content on emerging topics and the latest innovations.


OPA advisors published an impressive array of work this quarter

  • Dr. Jayan Nagendran investigated the functional decline in hearts during prolonged ex situ perfusion and described a method for heart perfusion in working mode for additional data collection

  • Dr. Ido Braslavsky investigated antifreeze and ice-nucleating proteins

  • Dr. Janet Elliott looked at the ability of two models to predict experimental phase equilibrium data, studied meniscus depth and evaluated additives that could decreased the toxicity of high-concentration cryoprotective agents

  • Dr. Korkut Uygun highlighted the potential of normothermic perfusion to increase the donor pool in this comment on the OrganOx trial highlighted in the April 2018 Biopreservation Briefings

  • Dr. Barry Fuller served on the steering committee that identified an open question about preservation as highly important to physicians and patients alike

  • Dr. Kenneth Storey’s group showed differential phosphorylation of metabolic enzymes during environmental stresses, elucidated an antioxidant pathway that appears to defend against environmental salinity stress, defined post-translational modifications in the brain associated with topor, showed that topor maintains a gene expression profile distinct from that of death, interrogated the miRNA profile of dormant snails, and defined a role for lysine methylation in mammallian hibernation



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