Aastrom excells itself

Cancer patients have been treated for years with massive doses of chemotherapy and radiation. Although these treatments undoubtedly help, they can severely damage bone marrow, blood and immune system cells, leaving the patient in need of a bone marrow stem cell transplant.

Because of the possible presence of cancer cells in the patient’s bone marrow, these cells must usually come from an outside donor. The large volume of cells required necessitates a process which is expensive, time consuming and requires hours of invasive surgery for the donor.

To address this situation, Aastrom Biosciences has introduced what is thought to be the only integrated system for the production of clinically useful quantities of therapeutic cells.

The Aastrom Replicell system consists of several application specific therapy kits, each containing a plastic cell cassette which provides a strictly controlled medium for the growth of a small volume of stem cells. Following a 12 day incubation period the number of stem cells produced may be used for a transplant.

Key to the whole design was the plastic used for the cassette, and Aastrom’s engineers selected Eastar’s PETG 6763, a tough non-brittle copolyester which has been used in-vitro for years. To facilitate proper growth, this material had to be free of additives and residual monomers and pass medical device biocompatibility requirements.