Health & Safety - Liquid Nitrogen Injuries Continue

 
A woman in Florida, USA, nearly died in October 2019 after ingesting a drink with liquid nitrogen. Ms. Stacey Wagers saw a waiter pour a liquid onto another patron's dessert, giving it a neat "smoky" effect. The waiter poured some of the same liquid into Wager's glass of water after her friend commented on the cool effect. Wager became immediately and violently ill, resulting in her gall bladder and parts of her stomach being removed. Read more...

2019 Election

2019 Elections

Read More

CRYO2019 Plenary Speakers in the News

CRYO2019 Plenary speakers Bart Panis and Oliver Ryder have featured in a recent news article by Katharine Gammon, a freelance science writer in California, who attended CRYO2019 as our guest. Ryder, the director of the "Frozen Zoo", presented on the continuous efforts made by the San Diego zoo to cryopreserve genetic material from over 10,000 species. Panis, a senior researcher with the Leuven, Bioversity International, discussed with Gammon the massive ice cave-turned-seed bank, Svalbard seed vault, with its 820,000 seed samples and the challenges surrounding flora cryopreservation. Read the full article HERE

Organ Transplant Survival Rate to Triple

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School began supercooling rat livers 5 years ago with the intention of being able to preserve human organs for more than the current 9 hours. Society for Cryobiology members, Reinier de Vries and Korkut Uygun, contributed to the research team's current experiment on human livers that were unsuitable for transplants. The research team's ultimate goal is a true organ bank where organs can be preserved for years instead of hours or days and in essence, eliminate the hundreds of deaths that occur while patients wait for a suitable transplant. Read the full article HERE.

Death of Igor Katkov

Igor KatkovIt is with sadness that we must inform members and the wider cryobiology community of the sudden and unexpected death of Prof. Igor Katkov in early September 2019. At the time of his death Prof. Katkov was serving a term as Governor on the Society for Cryobiology's Board. 

Prof. Katkov received his education as a Biophysicist in the former “Cryobiological Capital of the World” Kharkov, Ukraine (to use Igor's wording). After completing his PhD on the correlation between the tolerance of bovine sperm to electroporation and freezing, Prof. Katkov undertook a post-doctoral fellowship with Peter Mazur at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1996-1998), researching osmotic and cryotolerance of mouse sperm. He then went on to work with Victor Bronshtein in San Diego, researching high temperature vitrification by drying without lyophilization. 

From 2001 - 2007 he worked at the University of California, San Diego (department of Pediatrics), developing a technique of freezing adherent pluripotent stem cells directly in multi-well dishes. During this time he developed a novel Relativistic Permeability approach, which calculates the exact level of maximum shrinkage during freezing and swelling during dilution. He was the first person to show that a permeable solute may behave paradoxically and have a bi-phasic pattern: moving in and then out during addition (hypersaturation effect) and out and back in the cell during dilution (hyperdiliution effect). In 2001 Prof. Katkov also founded Celltronix and served as Chief Scientific Officer, and from 2015 he combined this with the role of Head of the Laboratory of Amorphous State at Belgorod University (Russia) - serving in both roles until his death. Prof. Katkov’s most recent work has been the development of the concept of and building equipment for kinetic vitrification by hyperfast cooling, namely designing the K-VF KrioBlast™ in cooperation with V. F. Bolyukh from Ukraine.

In 2012 Prof. Katkov edited Current Frontiers in Cryobiology and Current Frontiers in Cryopreservation, the first major update to cryobiology literature since the publication of Life in the Frozen State (2004). During his career he published more than 160 research articles, and was granted 5 patents in the United States and Russia. 

To send a message of condolence please contact Nicole Evans who will pass all messages on to Prof. Katkov's family.

CRYO2019 Report

CRYO2019, the 56th Annual Meeting of the Society for Cryobiology, took place recently July 22-25 in San Diego. 

As climate change and population growth are of increasing global awareness and concern, CRYO2019 opened with a special conservation session detailing current research activities in preservation of genetic material from wild animal and plant species and agriculturally important crops. Speakers included Oliver Ryder, Kleberg Endowed Director of Conservation Genetics at The Frozen Zoo® of San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research, giving an overview on the Frozen Zoo's past, present and future conservation research and activities; Hugh Pritchard, Senior Research Scientist in Comparative Seed Biology, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK), speaking on the importance of cryobiotechnology for conservation of wild plant species; and Bart Panis, senior scientist at KU Leuven (Belgium), on the realizations and challenges of ensuring the world's food supply through cryopreservation of vital crops, such as bananas, cassava, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. These topics were further explored throughout the meeting in a number of related sessions including animal conservation and germplasm preservation, and plant cryobiotechnology. 

San Diego and the surrounding area is a well known biotechnology hub, and for this reason the second day of the meeting featured a dedicated cell therapy track, featuring a number of academic and industry speakers, including plenary speakers Robert Tressler, Vice President of the San Diego Blood Bank, and John Elliott, Principal Investigator at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Session themes throughout the day included preservation of cellular therapies and good manufacturing practice in cell therapy manufacturing development and commercialization, with industry speakers from Kite Pharma, GE Healthcare, Fate Therapeutics, BioLife Solutions, and Juno Therapeutics, among others. 

Multiple sessions in fundamental cryobiology topics, cell and tissue preservation, tools and technologies, natural adaptation, and thermal medicine rounded out the scientific program, alongside several sessions organized in collaboration with the Organ Preservation Alliance and the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER). Full program information can be viewed at cryo2019.com/schedule

During the meeting the Society for Cryobiology was pleased to announce the inaugural winners of two recently established awards, the Dayong Gao Young Investigator Award, named after current Society President and sponsored by GoldSim, which gifts $5,000 to a young researcher in the first 10 years of their post-PhD career, and the Arthur W. Rowe Cryobiology Best Paper Award, awarded to an outstanding research article published in the preceding year in Cryobiology, as decided by the journal's editorial board. 

The inaugural winner and recipient of the Young Investigator award was announced as Leandro Godoy, Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, for his research on the application of biotechnologies to reproduction of aquatic organisms, the development of protocols for gamete and embryo cryopreservation and the effects of cryopreservation on reproductive cells metabolism. His research has applications in both aquaculture and conservation of endangered aquatic species through the establishment of germplasm banks. Dr. Godoy, who is leader of the ReefBank Project, plans to use the $5,000 honorarium for the ReefBank Project, specifically to assist with creating the first bank of coral gametes in the South Atlantic Ocean. 

Arthur W. Rowe, founding member of the Society, and Cryobiology editor-in-chief for 24 years, delivered a presentation on the journal's history before the announcement of the winner of the eponymous best paper award - James D. Benson (University of Saskatchewan) et al. for "A toxicity cost function approach to optimal CPA equilibration in tissues" Cryobiology vol. 80. This research explores a numerical approach to adapt cell-based CPA equilibration damage models for use in a classical tissue mass transport models, and found that there are fundamental differences between protocols designed to minimize total CPA exposure time in tissues and protocols designed to minimize accumulated CPA toxicity. 

CRYO2020 will take place July 21-24, 2020 in Chicago. 

Postponing Menopause

Springboarding off the research done to preserve female's fertility before cancer treatments, researchers are now applying the same techniques to women in an attempt to postpone menopause. Researchers remove an ovarian tissue sample, use cryopreservation to preserve the pre-menopausal tissue, and then, even decades later, thaw and graft the tissue back onto the body. This tissue can then restore the reduced hormones and delay menopause. Tissue samples from nine women are being preserved, ready to be used just as the women begin to enter menopause.

Of course the younger and healthier the original tissue sample, the more effective it will be in delaying menopause. A tissue sample from a 40-year-old woman is expected to delay menopause by only 5 years, but future women in their 20s may be able to postpone menopause or even extend their fertility window by 20 to 30 years. READ MORE...

The First Lunar Colonist!

You shouldn't expect any Lunar base construction yet; the first know lunar "colonists" are Tardigrades. These microscopic "water bears" can survive in nearly all of Earth's extreme environmental conditions - boiling, freezing, high pressure, and vacuum - everything except ultraviolet radiation. 

An experiment about the Tardigrades' adaptability to space literally crash-landed during the Israeli moon mission, Beresheet, on April 11th, scattering the thousands of tiny creatures across the moon's surface. However, without the presence of liquid water their survival rate is next to zero. READ MORE...

Death of David Pegg

It is with sadness we have to pass on news of the recent death of Prof. David Pegg at his home in York, United Kingdom on Saturday August 3, 2019. He was 86 years old.

Prof. Pegg completed a Bachelor of Science and Medical Degree at the University of London in 1956, and followed this with a Doctorate in Medicine in 1963 from the same institution. The early part of his career was spent at Westminster Medical School in Clinical and Lecturing posts, before spending the major part of his career based in Cambridge at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Research Centre (1968 - 1978) and then as Head of the MRC Medical Cryobiology Group (1978 - 1992). Prof. Pegg then moved to York, as Director of the Medical Cryobiology Unit at the University of York. Prof. Pegg was an advisor to the UK's National Blood Service, Department of Health, and Human Embryology and Fertilization Authority. He also served as Chairman of the Society for Low Temperature Biology, Prof. Pegg trained a number of prominent British and international cryobiologists, including former Associate Editor of Cryobiology, W. John Armitage (University of Bristol), Barry Fuller (University College London/Royal Free Hospital), Mike Taylor (Sylvatica Biotech/Carnegie Mellon University).

Prof. Pegg is well-known as a great cryobiologist who made outstanding contributions to the science of cryobiology and to the Society for Cryobiology. He was a founding member of the Society for Cryobiology and served the Society as President (1974-1975), Governor (several terms), and Editor-in-Chief of Cryobiology (1994 - 2011). He was elected as a Fellow of the Society for Cryobiology in 2005. Prof. Pegg's primary research interests focused on tissue and organ cryopreservation. Recent research projects had included work on corneas, cartilage, blood vessels, cardiac valves, and tissue-engineered graft materials. He was interested in not only the fundamental mechanism of freezing injury, but also the development of novel cryopreservation techniques and their clinical applications. He authored and/or edited six books and more than 200 journal papers in the field of cryobiology.

A memorial ceremony in celebration of Prof. Pegg's life will take place on Thursday 29th August in York, UK. 

Sincerely, 
Nicole Evans, Executive Director
Dayong Gao, President 

Society for Cryobiology

Are We Ready for Space Babies?

We don't have to worry about our planetary passports quite yet. As a species, we're still "light years" away from space babies, but the  European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna presented research that frozen sperm samples can still be viable after being subject to microgravity conditions.

Montserrat Boada, director of an embryology laboratory at Dexeus Mujer, a women's health center in Barcelona, Spain and a team of researchers tested the effects of altered on sperm samples using aerial abcroatics. Passenger air flight is no comparison to the conditions these 10 sperm samples underwent which included at least 20 parabolic maneuvers that exposed the samples to space-like gravity and gravity forces two to three times more than experienced on Earth.  Other obstacles to future space colonization would include conception, the effect of microgravity on respiratory and circular systems, and the unknown prenatal effect of zero-Gs. Read more HERE

Assemble Plus Marine Funding Call

Assemble Plus


Assemble Plus has opened its fourth call for access to infrastructure in Marine labs in Europe. 

The Assemble plus consortium has opened again the Transnational access competitive calls where any scientist can apply with a good, short idea and the A+ covers the expenses (travel, accommodation, research, equipment fees) of that project for 1 month in any of the marine stations in the consortium. Application is quite straightforward and very in touch with the team on the selected destination.

Visit the Assemble Plus website for more information about how to apply. 

ISBER Best Practices Addendum

The Society for Cryobiology, in partnership with the ISBER, is pleased to announce the launch of the Liquid Nitrogen-Based Cryogenic Storage of Specimens Best Practices Addendum to the ISBER Best Practices 4th Edition. "The new Liquid Nitrogen Best Practices Addendum will be a go-to resource for the growing number of repositories being asked to store cellular products being used in adoptive therapy research and manufacturing. We are grateful to the team of contributors who are world leaders, who have shared their expertise in building and managing facilities to support collections requiring sub-Tg (glass transition, -135°C) storage,” said David Lewandowski, President of ISBER.
The new ISBER Addendum and the ISBER Best Practices 4th Edition is available to download now.

2019 Royan Institute Cryobiology & Biobanking Symposium

The Royan Institute held their third cryobiology and biobanking symposium on February 27, 2019, in Tehran, Iran. The Royan Institute was established in 1991 as a public non-profit research institute for reproductive biomedicine and infertility treatments. Today Royan consists of three research institutes: 

Read More

Pig Brains Partially Revived after Death

Yale scientists managed to partially revive the brains of decapitated pigs by flooding the organ with oxygen-rich artificial blood. These researchers are quick to assure the public the brains did not show any signs of consciousness; instead, their experiment showed the possibility of limiting or reversing long term brain damage as blood stops circulating. The ability to restore cell function to the brain and slow the decay process in pig brains deceased 4 to 6 hours has the potential for extraordinary applications for stroke or Alzheimer victims. The entire article can be read HERE.

Permafrost Preserved Foal

Russian and South Korean researchers have extracted liquid blood and urine samples from a 42,000-year-old foal preserved by the Siberian permafrost. Upon discovery in August 2018, the one to two-week-old foal showed no external damage with skin, tail, and hooves still intact with hair still present on portions of the body. The scientist's lofty goal is to clone the horse and revive the extinct Lenskaya horse breed to which this foal belongs. A viable DNA sample from the blood is required for any hope of cloning and the scientists currently have 20 unviable blood samples. However, they are confident and are actively searching for a suitable surrogate mare in anticipation of a successful clone. The full article can be found HERE.

New Administrator Announced

The Society for Cryobiology is pleased to announce that we have employed a new administrator - Amelia Hanson. She has an education in chemical engineering and experience in the Houston oil & gas industry. A native Texan, Amelia now lives in New Zealand as a technical writer and website designer. Working directly with the society's Executive Director, Nicole Evans, Amelia assumed the position of administrator February 27th, 2019. You can contact her at [email protected].

Program Committee Track Co-Chair for Plant Cryobiotechnology at CRYO2019

Gayle VolkGayle Volk, a CRYO2019 Program Committee Track Co-Chair for Plant Cryobiotechnology, has recently been in the news about a study into heritage apple cultivars in Wyoming, USA. Samples from Heritage apples, planted in the 1800s, were collected from nearly a hundred farms, orchards, or homesteads and are being studied to determine existing traits that allow these trees to survive, even thrive, in the harsh, cold Wyoming climate. 

The original article can be found HERE

Potential Male Cancer Fertility Breakthrough

Photo by Magda Ehlers from PexelsTesticle tissue samples from the rhesus macaques are being used in new research to preserve the fertility of preadolescent boys with cancer. Kyle Orwig from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and his team, removed testicle tissue from 5 prepubescent monkeys. After the monkeys reached sexual maturity, the tissue was grafted back onto the monkey's back and scrotum and within 12 months all 5 monkeys were producing testosterone and sperm. The team used the sperm from one of the monkeys to successfully impregnate a female.

Prior to puberty, young boys don't develop sperm that can be preserved in the event of infertility, a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. By taking small testicle samples of these young boys, researchers hope to be able to preserve the fertility of these future cancer survivors. The original article can be found HERE

Read More

Call for Fellow Nominations

Fellow Nominations Open 

CALL FOR CRYOFELLOW NOMINATIONS - DEADLINE APRIL 30

Gao
President, Jason Acker, presents President-Elect, Dayong Gao with the CryoFellow Medal at CRYO2017. 

The 2018 CryoFellows Nominations Committee is now soliciting nominations for the appointment of new CryoFellows. This Committee, consisting of three members of the Board of Governors and two CryoFellows, evaluates the nominations and makes recommendations to the Board for approval of new Fellows.

Jan 30: Nominations Open 
April 30: Nominations Close
May - mid-July: Evaluation of nomination materials by Fellow Committee
July 21: Board of Governors to vote on Fellow Committee recommendations
July 22: Announcement of New Fellows at CRYO2019 in San Diego

The Society for Cryobiology established an award and medal of CryoFellow just over a decade ago in recognition of members of the society and individuals from the cryobiology community at large who have had an outstanding impact on the field.

CryoFellows are awarded this prestigious status in recognition of: scientific impact of their research on cryobiology (50%); sustained nature of that impact (20%); generation of scientific offspring (20%); and service to the Society (10%).

There is no formal application form on which to make the nomination, but the documents you provide the committee should be of sufficient depth to support the candidate's contributions to the categories mentioned above in a clear and demonstrable way. Usually this will mean inclusion with the nomination:

(1) Supporting letters from members of the Society or other major contributors to cryobiology (including one from the nominator); and 

(2) a detailed resume for the nominee. I suggest you contact the proposed CryoFellow to discuss their nomination before proceeding and to obtain the resume from the nominee.

Please note the nominated individual must be living at the time that he or she is nominated.

If there is someone you would like to nominate, or you would like to have an informal discussion before proceeding with nomination, please email me at [email protected]

New UCL and Royal Free Ovarian Tissue Bank

New UCL and Royal Free Ovarian Tissue Bank

University College London (UCL) and the Royal Free London Hospital have announced a new ovarian tissue bank to preserve the fertility of girls and women about to undergo treatment for cancer. 

The publically funded initiative will be led by UCL academic Dr. Paul Hardiman (UCL Institute of Women's Health) and consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal Free Hospital in London, with consultation by Society for Cryobiology Fellow, Prof. Barry Fuller, head of research for the UCL Division of Surgery, and  Prof. Mark Lowdell, UCL director of Cellular Therapeutics.

Worldwide there have been approximately 100 live births following ovarian tissue preservation and subsequent reimplantation on the remaining ovary or into the lining of the abdominal cavity. 

Dr. Hardiman, tissue bank director, said: 
“We have modelled our protocols on how it is done at the Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, one of the largest hospitals in Denmark, where they have been freezing human ovarian tissue since 1999. This is a well-established method in Europe, the US and Japan but the UK has lagged behind and patients often faced having to go abroad and pay to receive this treatment. At a time when patients need to concentrate on life-saving therapies this intervention needs to take place as quickly as possible.”

“What makes the Royal Free London so ideally suited to provide this service is that we have a unique mix of facilities and expertise in tissue freezing and cell therapy including Professor Barry Fuller, head of research for the UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science and Professor Mark Lowdell, director of Cellular Therapeutics.  We are also a leading kidney and liver transplant centre and the principle UK centre for cell and tissue medicines which has helped facilitate approval from the Human Tissue Authority. We are very grateful for the support from the Royal Free Charity over the past seven years which funded Natalie Getreu*, a PhD student, who played an important role in enabling us to bring this to patients.”

*Society for Cryobiology student member, Natalie Getreu, presented her PhD research for the Ovarian Tissue Bank at CRYO2017 and CRYO2016. 









Read More