In the unique supply chain of cellular therapies, preservation is important to keep the cell product viable. Many factors in cryopreservation affect the outcome of a cell therapy: (i) formulation and introduction of a freezing medium, (ii) cooling rate, (iii) storage conditions, (iv) thawing conditions and (v) post-thaw processing. This article surveys clinical trials of cellular immunotherapy that used cryopreserved regulatory, chimeric antigen receptor or gamma delta T cells, dendritic cells or natural killer (NK) cells. Several observations are summarized from the given information. The aforementioned cell types have been similarly frozen in media containing 5-10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) with plasma, serum or human serum albumin. Two common freezing methods are an insulated freezing container such as Nalgene Mr. Frosty and a controlled-rate freezer at a cooling rate of -1°C/min. Water baths at approximately 37°C have been commonly used for thawing. Post-thaw processing of cryopreserved cells varied greatly: some studies infused the cells immediately upon thawing; some diluted the cells in a carrier solution of varying formulation before infusion; some washed cells to remove cryoprotective agents; and others re-cultured cells to recover cell viability or functionality lost due to cryopreservation. Emerging approaches to preserving cellular immunotherapies are also described. DMSO-free formulations of the freezing media have demonstrated improved preservation of cell viability in T lymphocytes and of cytotoxic function in natural killer cells. Saccharides are a common type of molecule used as an alternative cryoprotective agent to DMSO. Improving methods of preservation will be critical to growth in the clinical use of cellular immunotherapies.
Keywords: T cells; cell therapies; cryopreservation; dendritic cells; natural killer cells.
Copyright © 2019 International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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