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The New City Osaki Clinic is equipped with a special laboratory, a cell processing center (CPC), which requires advanced cell culture technology. Because cell culture is performed and managed at the clinic without outsourcing, the required time and cost are reduced. More importantly, physicians and technicians can constantly monitor the condition of patients’ precious blood, which allows the most appropriate high-level activation and mass culture of lymphocytes for each patient.
In clinical settings, there is always a risk of giving blood transfusions or administering drugs to the wrong patients. For this reason, many healthcare facilities prepare manuals specifying the procedures that should be taken in blood transfusions or the administration of drugs in order to prevent such mix-ups as a part of risk management. At the New City Osaki Clinic, staff members perform various tasks ranging from blood collection to drip infusion in accordance with the specified procedures so that mix-up of cultured lymphocyte never occurs. Moreover, they take the utmost precautions against the mixture or administration of the wrong patients’ lymphocytes by using a bar code system.
Lymphocytes are cultured in culture medium for about 2 weeks. During this period, contamination with bacteria or molds should be prevented. Therefore, cells are cultured in a room protected from the outside environment where the air is constantly cleaned by a special filter. Moreover, technicians wearing aseptic clothes, surgical gloves, and masks handle cultured cells in a bacteria-free clean bench. Finally, on the day of administration, the culture medium is checked for infection by sterility tests and tests for mycoplasma and endotoxins.
For patients with infections, including those with hepatitis B or C virus, cell culture is performed in a special isolated cell culture room so that their blood does not come in contact with the lymphocytes of uninfected patients.
The activated and proliferated lymphocytes include helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells and NK (natural killer) cells. These cells have different functions. The composition of proliferated lymphocytes is not necessarily comparable across different patients and cultures. Therefore, it is necessary to know which cells are administered to patients. Using the device called FACS, we check the composition of lymphocytes to be administered and whether or not they are properly activated.
Other than those mentioned above, there are various rules for managing the CPC. In order to follow these rules, Cell culture technicians are trained periodically.
Our laboratory is always equipped with freezing tanks for freeze preservation. At a minimum storage cost, patients can store their blood that was collected when their immune capacity was high in a frozen state. The blood can be thawed as necessary and the contained cells can be cultured, grown and administered by effectively combining with standard cancer therapies. This procedure is expected to be effective in preventing the onset, recurrence, and metastasis of cancer.