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Fully Automated Cultivation of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in the StemCellDiscovery - A Robotic Laboratory for Small-Scale, High-Throughput Cell Production Including Deep Learning-Based Confluence Estimation

: Ochs, Jelena; Biermann, Ferdinand; Piotrowski, Tobias; Erkens, Frederik; Nießing, Bastian; Herbst, Laura; König, Niels; Schmitt, Robert H.

Volltext ()

Processes 9 (2021), Nr.4, Art. 575, 19 S.
ISSN: 2227-9717 (electronic)
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft FhG
Strategischer Invest; StemCellDiscovery
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IPT ()
mesenchymal stem cells; cell production; Laboratory automation; deep learning; confluence estimation

Laboratory automation is a key driver in biotechnology and an enabler for powerful new technologies and applications. In particular, in the field of personalized therapies, automation in research and production is a prerequisite for achieving cost efficiency and broad availability of tailored treatments. For this reason, we present the StemCellDiscovery, a fully automated robotic laboratory for the cultivation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in small scale and in parallel. While the system can handle different kinds of adherent cells, here, we focus on the cultivation of adipose-derived hMSCs. The StemCellDiscovery provides an in-line visual quality control for automated confluence estimation, which is realized by combining high-speed microscopy with deep learning-based image processing. We demonstrate the feasibility of the algorithm to detect hMSCs in culture at different densities and calculate confluences based on the resulting image. Furthermore, we show that the StemCellDiscovery is capable of expanding adipose-derived hMSCs in a fully automated manner using the confluence estimation algorithm. In order to estimate the system capacity under high-throughput conditions, we modeled the production environment in a simulation software. The simulations of the production process indicate that the robotic laboratory is capable of handling more than 95 cell culture plates per day.