The invention describes an automated vitrification device that will be computer controlled through a user-friendly interface.
Vitrification is a process used to protect cells and tissues from damage due to freezing during cryopreservation. Cryopreservation of biological tissues, particularly in the fields of fertility preservation and tissue banking are in need of standardization and increases in viability. Currently, much of vitrification work is being performed manually. Thus, its success is dependent on individual user's skills. Vitrification is limited to one sample at a time when being performed on small subjects, with increased risk for user error due to small sample sizes.
Furthermore, samples can easily be contaminated with liquid nitrogen. While closed system containers can prevent contamination, closed system containers currently utilized in vitrification have numerous issues including 1) issue with loading multiple cells; 2) inability to hold tissue; 3) issues with user friendliness; and, 4) lack of compatibility with automated systems.
The proposed invention has many applications. It can be used for the automated vitrification of human oocytes, embryos, and ovarian tissue used in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic labs and research labs. Additionally, automated vitrification for eggs, embryos and tissue for use in animal husbandry and for "tissue banks" is possible.
The proposed device will effectively standardize vitrification while automating the process allowing for consistent results with a higher throughput. Additionally, the proposed device utilizes "closed-system" containers that effectively protect samples from contaminants present in liquid nitrogen. The invention seeks to provide a sheet based and a ring shaped container compatible with automation to aid in the maximizing of viability and standardization of cryopreservation of biological tissues.