A new product developed between Coventry University and Bedford-based Life Science Group Ltd (LSG) has the potential to revolutionise the delivery of cell and gene therapy and in the longer term make these cutting-edge, personalised treatments more accessible.
CellShip is a cell shipment and storage medium that has been developed during a three-year, £250,000 Innovate-UK-Funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).
This medium is a sterile, xeno-free alternative to cryopreservation (the use of very low temperatures to preserve structurally intact living cells and tissues) for the transport and short-term storage of cells and contains a non-toxic additive designed to protect them against shear stress and maintain membrane integrity.
Data from initial tests during the product development process shows the product permits the transportation and short-term storage of a variety of cell types at ambient temperatures, as an alternative to cryopreservation, allowing for rapid and immediate recovery of cells.
Cell and gene therapies have the potential to address complex diseases and disorders, such as motor neurone diseases, and many rare disorders for which traditional medical treatments are very challenging.
Jenny Murray, Managing Director of Life Science Group, said: “Personalised medicine is a new approach to healthcare which will revolutionise treatments over the next 15-20 years.
“If you’re going to have a medicine that is not just available to wealthier countries you need a way of transporting cells in an affordable and controllable manner.
“CellShip offers the ability to transport cells at ambient temperatures, in stasis, which allows cells to be accurately controlled, to reduce the potentially harmful loss of cells, and negates the requirement for the addition of toxic cryoprotectants.
“This novel and disruptive product has been developed in association with Coventry University through a successful KTP and has the potential to revolutionise the delivery of personalised medicine globally.
“CellShip would not exist without Coventry University’s technical and scientific expertise and support and the access to lab space and equipment.
“We are keen to maintain this relationship as we continue the process of moving this new product to market through further research and clinical trials.”
The KTP programme is part-funded by Innovate UK and is designed to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity by tapping into the knowledge, technology, and skills of a university collaborator.
The three-year KTP between Coventry University and LSG was led by Dr Emma Buick, and overseen by Professor Sebastien Farnaud, Professor in Bio-Innovation and Enterprise at Coventry University’s Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences and Professor Derek Renshaw, Professor of Transitional Physiology at Coventry University’s Research Centre for Applied Biological & Exercise Sciences within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.
The KTP been awarded the highest grade of ‘Outstanding’ by The Knowledge Transfer Partnership and LSG Ltd has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Partnership between Academia and Business category of the Medilink Midlands Business Awards 2022. The award recognises companies that demonstrate how their collaboration / partnership has or will enhance current service delivery or create new ways of delivering healthcare.
Professor Farnaud said: “The work achieved through this KTP is a breakthrough not only for the scientific community but indirectly for our society a whole.
“These novel media, which reduce the need for dry ice, and deliver more suitable cells and tissues for all applications, provide better science at lower cost and a more sustainable communication and service between scientists, clinicians and ultimately patients.”
For more information: