Comparability of scalable, automated hMSC culture using manual and automated process steps

Automation will likely to play a key role in the development of scalable manufacturing processes for cell-based therapies. In this study, we have compared the effects of manual centrifugation and automated non-centrifugation cell culture process steps, performed using TAP biosystems’ CompacT SelecT automated cell culture platform, upon hMSC morphology, number, viability, surface marker expression, Short tandem repeat (STR) profile, and paracrine function. Furthermore, the comparability between flow cytometry analyses of hMSCs, performed at multiple sites, was investigated. No significant difference in hMSC growth and characteristics was observed between cells cultured using either the manual centrifugation process step or the automated non-centrifugation process step, in which residual dissociation agent is carried over. However, some variability in paracrine activity was observed between hMSCs cultured using alternative process steps. It is also apparent that differences in analytical methods can influence the inter-laboratory reproducibility of hMSC flow cytometry analysis, although differences in culture may also contribute to the variability observed in the expression of 2 of the 8 surface markers examined. This novel investigation into the effects of these two key process steps will help to improve the understanding of the influence of automated cell culture upon various cell culture parameters, as well as upon process comparability.