Cryopreservation of Alginate-Encapsulated Recombinant Cells for Antiangiogenic Therapy

V. Stensvaag, T. Furmanek, K. Lønning, A. J.A. Terzis, Rolf Bjerkvig*, T. Visted

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The potential benefit of continuous local administration of antiangiogenic proteins to CNS tumors in vivo has recently been demonstrated using endostatin-producing recombinant cells encapsulated in alginate beads. Due to the treatment potential of transplanted alginate-encapsulated cells producing therapeutic proteins, we describe a successful method of cryopreservation (CP) of such beads, in which cellular viability, alginate structure, and protein secretion were maintained. Alginate beads containing human embryonic kidney cells (HEK 293 cells) stably transfected with the gene encoding for endostatin were cryopreserved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) using a slow freezing procedure. Briefly, the DMSO concentration was gradually increased prior to the freezing procedure. The cryotubes were further supercooled to -7.5°C and nucleated. Thereafter, the samples were cooled at a rate of 0.25°C/min and stored in liquid nitrogen. The viability of the encapsulated cells was assessed using confocal microscopy quantification (CLSM) technique and a MTS assay. The cell cycle distribution inside the beads was assessed by DNA flow cytometry and endostatin production was determined by an endostatin-specific ELISA assay, both prior to and after CP. CLSM measurements showed sustained esterase activity in the beads after thawing, with only a slight transient decrease 24 h after CP. The MTS assay verified these findings by displaying similar variations of intracellular dehydrogenase activity. Flow cytometric analyses revealed no cryorelated disturbances in cellular ploidy. Furthermore, ELISA measurements showed a well-preserved endostatin production after CP. In conclusion, this work describes the successful CP of alginate-encapsulated recombinant cells secreting a therapeutic protein. Together with previous published reports, these results further substantiate the feasibility and potential of cell encapsulation therapy in the treatment of malignant tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Alginate encapsulation
  • Antiangiogenic therapy
  • Cryopreservation
  • Endostatin
  • Recombinant cells


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