Cryopreservation of Hematopoietic Stem Cells: Emerging Assays, Cryoprotectant Agents, and Technology to Improve Outcomes

Kathlyn M Hornberger, Guanglin Yu, David H McKenna, Allison Hubel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) therapy is widely used to treat a growing number of hematological and non-hematological diseases. Cryopreservation of HSCs allows for cells to be transported from the site of processing to the site of clinical use, creates a larger window of time in which cells can be administered to patients, and allows sufficient time for quality control and regulatory testing. Currently, HSCs and other cell therapies conform to the same cryopreservation techniques as cells used for research purposes: cells are cryopreserved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at a slow cooling rate. As a result, HSC therapy can result in numerous adverse symptoms in patients due to the infusion of DMSO. Efforts are being made to improve the cryopreservation of HSCs for clinical use. This review discusses advances in the cryopreservation of HSCs from 2007 to the present. The preclinical development of new cryoprotectants and new technology to eliminate cryoprotectants after thawing are discussed in detail. Additional cryopreservation considerations are included, such as cooling rate, storage temperature, and cell concentration. Preclinical cell assessment and quality control are discussed, as well as clinical studies from the past decade that focus on new cryopreservation protocols to improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalTransfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Cryopreservation
  • Dimethyl sulfoxide
  • Freezing
  • Hematopoietic stem cells
  • Storage


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