When using live cells as part of a medical treatment such as stem cell therapy or autologous skin grafts, doctors currently use Petri dishes, cell culture bottles, or bioreactors to grow and store the cells. However, these containers cannot be used to store cells for extended periods of time because they can be contaminated when opened for filling.
A team of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST has announced that its new atmospheric plasma technology can be used to create sealed plastic bags which are suitable for cell culture and which are more resistant to contamination. Plastic bags are filled with a nutrient medium and a sterilized gas, and an electrical current is applied across the bag to create plasma which both sterilizes and chemically alters the surface of the plastic bag to provide a suitable surface for cell growth. Because cells are added to the bag via injection needle or through a connected tube system, the bag is never opened to its surroundings, thereby minimizing the risk of contamination.
Press release: Plasma in bags