Synthetic polymers enable non-vitreous cellular cryopreservation by reducing ice crystal growth during thawing.
Deller RC., Vatish M., Mitchell DA., Gibson MI.
The cryopreservation of cells, tissue and organs is fundamental to modern biotechnology, transplantation medicine and chemical biology. The current state-of-the-art method of cryopreservation is the addition of large amounts of organic solvents such as glycerol or dimethyl sulfoxide, to promote vitrification and prevent ice formation. Here we employ a synthetic, biomimetic, polymer, which is capable of slowing the growth of ice crystals in a manner similar to antifreeze (glyco)proteins to enhance the cryopreservation of sheep and human red blood cells. We find that only 0.1 wt% of the polymer is required to attain significant cell recovery post freezing, compared with over 20 wt% required for solvent-based strategies. These results demonstrate that synthetic antifreeze (glyco)protein mimics could have a crucial role in modern regenerative medicine to improve the storage and distribution of biological material for transplantation.