The CompacT SelecT (CTST) platform is a modular robotic system that integrates a full range of cell culture procedures
under sterile conditions that mimic the manual cell culture process.
These procedures include automated handling of different cell culture vessels, pipetting large and small volumes at adjustable speeds, cell counting, cell viability analysis, cell density assessment, microscopic imaging, cell passaging, cell harvest, and medium changes.
Moreover, two independent incubator carousels (humidified 37C, 5% CO2) enable culturing cells in various cell culture vessels (T75 and T175 flasks and 6-, 24-, 96-, or 384-well formats).
The CTST system has the capacity to simultaneously culture up to 280 assay-ready plates and up to 90 different hiPSC lines in large T175 flasks. Moreover, as CTST is handling different cell lines and protocols, scientists may remotely access, control, and monitor ongoing experiments without the need to physically enter the laboratory. Hence, the system allows non-stop cell culture operations with minimal manual intervention.
Robotic high-throughput biomanufacturing and functional differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells using the CompacT SelecT (CTST) platform has been studied by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), Division of Preclinical Innovation (DPI), NIH Stem Cell Translation Laboratory (SCTL) in Rockville.
Automation can help to overcome challenges, reduce the burden of manual hiPSC culture, and contribute to improving overall experimental reproducibility. Authors daily experience using the CTST over the last 5 years convinced them of the advantages and versatility of automated cell culture. High-quality hPSCs can be expanded, cryopreserved, differentiated, and utilized on demand in large flasks or assay-ready microplates.
Authord were able to automate and characterize all essential steps of hiPSC culture, including massive cell expansion and controlled multi-lineage differentiation yielding functional cell types. Systematic cell characterization experiments using complementary methods demonstrated that cells cultured manually or robotically were qualitatively similar, further supporting the notion that industrial-scale culture of hiPSCs is feasible and not limited by the availability, work schedule, and manual labor of specially trained scientists.