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MAE assistant research professor’s cryptopreservation work nets Fast Track Award

Xu Han, assistant research professor in MU’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, has been awarded one of the UM System’s 2016 Fast Track awards in support of his efforts to commercialize the transformative cryopreservation medium that he developed and MU has patented.

Xu Han headshot.

Xu Han, assistant research professor in MU’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, has been awarded one of the UM System’s 2016 Fast Track awards in support of his efforts to commercialize the transformative cryopreservation medium that he developed and MU has patented.

Han’s award will support his collaboration with Production and Quality staff at the MU Research Reactor (MURR) Center, who are working with Han to develop and adhere to Good Management Practices (GMPs) in the production of the polymer-based cryopreservation medium he has named C80EZ.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the quality of human pharmaceuticals, and the GMP is their regulatory standard. GMPs ensure proper design, monitoring and control of manufacturing processes and facilities so that consumers using pharma products may be assured of the identity, strength, quality and purity of the products.

Han said he believes C80EZ is poised to revolutionize current cryopreservation methods.

“And to make it more easily and widely adopted, it must be produced through GMP,” Michael Flagg, Associate Director at MURR added.

Han said there are three primary problematic issues with current liquid nitrogen-based cryopreservation techniques.

“Liquid nitrogen is dangerous, and facilities that use it are expensive. Thus, the operational expense is high, and there are many issues related to impaired working efficiency and safety.

“Also, there are many cell or tissue types that cannot be successfully preserved using liquid nitrogen,” he said, giving primary neurons and human corneas as examples.

“There also are contamination issues,” Han added in reference to the use of serum or other animal/human proteins in some current cryopreservation techniques.

C80EZ is set to remedy current cryopreservation practice issues of expense, safety and success rate as it will allow long-term cryopreservation with improved efficiency to take place in the minus 80-degree centigrade lab freezers now in use by labs and industries around the world. In addition to its ease of use, it is simple to produce, store and ship.

“Everything comes back to quality,” Flagg said. “With the GMPs, we can [more easily] bridge it over to production. [GMP practices] are something that we have developed over the years at MURR. Now we can use it to help researchers. We’re excited to see how this will work, excited to see how it translates.”

Han said that after years of exploration in the area of cryopreservation, he too has reason to be excited.

“This will impact nearly all biology research areas and biomedical applications,” he said.