Blood Collection and Processing
The MIMIC® System simulates human immune responses by using human immune cells in specially engineered tissue constructs. In other words, human immune cells are the raw materials for the MIMIC® System. We have hundreds of donors available through a special relationship with Florida’s Blood Centers. Our donors reflect the diversity of the human population, in terms of age, race, gender, and genetics (e.g., HLA haplotypes). In any given study, we can select donor cells for a desired profile or we can ensure a broad representation.
We collect white blood cells from our donors, usually through a process called apheresis. We typically collect nearly eight billion cells per donor per donation. Donors can return every two months. The white blood cells are collected in plastic bags and immediately transferred to us for processing.
We have largely automated the processing of white blood cells and have developed standard operating procedures. This approach ensures consistency of our raw materials. Another benefit is reduced chance of accidental contamination of our employees, because they undertake fewer manual steps which can lead to accidents. We then either use the cells fresh or, more often, freeze the cells for later use. We have conducted extensive studies that show equivalence of fresh and frozen cells. See Case Study. Frozen cells also allow us to bank cells from donors with different profiles so that we can begin studies immediately rather than waiting for donations.