Product Announcement from Watson Marlow Pumps Group

Cell culture machine uses peristaltic pump -Image

A company specialising in automated life science applications, is using Watson-Marlow Bredel's OEM pumps on a fully automated flexible batch cell culture machine.

The Automation Partnership (TAP) has designed the SelecT machine with a consortium of six major pharmaceutical companies to meet the challenge of producing high quality, consistent cells for drug discovery on demand. Based on recommendations from members of the consortium which includes GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca and Parke-Davies, TAP contacted Watson-Marlow Bredel for peristaltic pumps that would provide a high performance metering solution while being easy to clean.

Typically measuring around 2 x 2 x 3 metres, the SelecT provides a completely controlled class 100 hepa-filtered environment for totally sterile cell culture growth. This allows pharmaceutical companies to grow and harvest cell lines overnight or at weekends, without the need for supervision - enabling screening five days a week.

The heart of the system relies on up to fifteen Watson-Marlow 314D peristaltic pumpheads vertically mounted on the machine's external front face, metering process fluids such as cell culture media or PBS rinse solution. Using silicone tubing linked to a rack or refrigerator containing the fluids, liquid is transferred into the sealed unit of the SelecT for metering onto cells.

The SelecT also employs two Watson Marlow's 313FAC/D pumps externally mounted alongside the 314D pumpheads. These transfer the fluid required for the washing and priming station, used to clean the cell pooling and dispensing pot. From here the cells are dispensed into multiwell plates.

David Jervis, Applications Manager at TAP comments: "Unlike manual cell cultivation methods, the SelecT allows entire automation of the process, resulting in increased consistency and individual cell traceability. With this in mind, we turned to Watson-Marlow Bredel for a peristaltic pumping solution."

The growth and harvesting process begins by placing flasks of cells into an incubator within the unit that are then fed with cell culture media. After the culture media surrounding the cells no longer contains any food, the fluid is pumped out of the unit to be safely disposed of. During this period the cells will have grown considerably and will be ready for splitting into multiple batches. Once these are fully confluent, (a term used to describe the entire base of the plate being covered with a single layer of cells) they are all harvested, pooled together and robotically put into the cell counter, ready for the final stages of growth.

The 313FAC/D and 314D peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Bredel are both specially designed for 24-hour operation. The 313FAC/D has flow rates at 50Hz up to 1350ml/min at 270rpm. The 314D has four rollers for minimum pulsation and accepts five tube sizes without the need for adjustment.

 
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