At Acorn Biolabs we ensure the highest quality cells are stored for future use. Your cells will be the starting material for future therapeutics and regenerative medicine. The quality of the starting cellular material is important for use in future therapeutics and regenerative medicine.
How exactly do we make sure that the cells are of good quality?
1. We make sure you have a lot of cells
It starts with the collection of the hair follicles itself. The hair follicle is like a miniature organ. It is wonderfully complex and goes through a series of life cycles. The Anagen phase is the growth phase of a hair follicle. While, the telogen, or resting phase, is where there is little to no growth. At Acorn we sort and make sure we only collect hair follicles that are in the Anagen phase. Through a trained eye, the difference between an Anagen and Telogen hair follicle is very evident.
We further sort the hair follicles in the Anagen phase. Internal research suggests that there are multiple morphological types of hair follicles even in the Anagen phase. Some types of hair follicles have an abundance of cells, up to 10,000 cells per hair follicle! That is a lot of cells. Acorn sorts and stores your hair follicles that are abundant in cells.
All this processing occurs in our ISO7 and ISO5 accredited clean room and biosafety cabinets. As its name suggests, a clean room is built for processing human samples (or other sensitive materials) in the cleanest environment possible. This ensures that there is no external contamination to the hair follicles. The follicles are then frozen in a special controlled manner and placed into vapor-phase liquid nitrogen tanks built and monitored to current manufacturing practices (cGMP). The hair follicles enter a vault-like environment where they remain safe and secure until you require them.
2. We make sure your cells are alive and viable
At Acorn we perform a cell viability analysis on a representative sample of hair follicles from each client. In general, the term viability is the capacity of something to be alive, to develop and reproduce. In biology, cell viability count refers to the percentage of the cells in a population that are alive. Typically, when you have a tissue or cluster of cells (such as a hair follicle), a fraction of the cells are naturally dying. Testing for viability is important because it generally acts as an indicator of the health of these cells.
The simplest method of obtaining a cell viability count is live/dead cell counting. The healthier the population of cells in the hair follicles, the more likely it is that they will respond accurately to the test compounds and test conditions. Healthier cells will also be better at proliferating or growing in the future. Live/dead cell counting is assessing the quantity of both live and dead cells in a sample population by using a fluorescence-based. This is where we detect live cells by the conversion of a protein called calcein-AM to calcein. This is indicative of enzymatic esterase activity. If a cell can do this conversion, it is enzymatically active and will fluoresce as green.
We detect dead cells by the intake of a red dye called ethidium homodimer-1. The dye is taken into a cell when it has been damaged or the membrane has been damaged. A microscope and software then look at the cells which are red and compares them to the cells that are green. The average number of live cells will be different for every cell and tissue type. It is important to make sure that cells are not only present but alive, suited for future use.
With the sorting and cell viability analyses, we at Acorn ensure that only high-quality cells are being stored for future use.
How exactly do we store those good quality cells?
At Acorn we take those high-quality cells and place them in 4 separate vials. Each vial has enough follicles to be used for the expansion of cells for future use. At Acorn we guarantee the storage of 2 vials. Scientifically we believe that 1 vial can be used for future therapeutics. However, we collect an additional vial for what is known as redundancy. Redundancy is a measure used to ensure that if something happens to one sample another is readily available for use. The two vials are kept in separate tanks to provide another layer of redundancy. If we are not able to collect enough high-quality cells to fill 2 vials, Acorn will do a recollection at no cost to the client. We want everyone to have enough cells for future use.
If additional follicles are collected to fill more than 2 vials, Acorn will store up to 2 additional vials as part of your service, free of charge. These cells can now be used for either therapeutics and regenerative medicine or next-generation analytics. Next-generation analytics can help to decode human cellular machinery related to disease. The information can then be used to make healthier lifestyle and wellness choices. The added benefit of having multiple vials stored is that if a client chooses to take out and use one of the vials, the others are still available for future use. Our goal at Acorn is to make sure you always have cells available for the future.