Why are we still using FBS in our processes?

This webinar will explore the detrimental implications of fetal bovine serum for scalable cell therapy manufacture, and following an extensive study, demonstrate pooled human platelet lysate as a suitable alternative for improved hMSC process consistency and overall development costs.

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With increasing concerns about the safety, reproducibility and availability of fetal bovine serum (FBS) for cell therapy process development, this webinar will explore the question: why are we still using FBS in our processes? It will address how FBS adversely impacts both the scale and cost of manufacture and demonstrate what seems like a short-term financial saving may actually result in significant costs further in development. This webinar will identify pooled human platelet lysate (HPL) as an effective, ethically sourced, xeno-free alternative for FBS, supported with findings from a wide-ranging study using human bone marrow, adipose and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) from multiple donors in both monolayer and microcarrier culture. Data will be presented for the growth and characterisation of the hMSCs in both FBS and HPL, with a focus on how HPL can be integrated into both academic and industrial translational research.

What will you learn?

  • Adverse implications of fetal bovine serum (FBS) for mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (MSC) applications with respect to process efficiency and economics
  • Three case studies involving use of human platelet lysate (HPL) for MSC monolayer and microcarrier culture
  • Demonstration of how HPL can improve process consistency and overall development costs

Who may this interest?

  • Fundamental researchers
  • Translational researchers
  • Cell therapy organizations
  • Gene therapy organizations
  • Biopharma industry


Dr. Qasim Rafiq
Associate Professor
University College London

Dr. Qasim Rafiq is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Cell & Gene Therapy within the Department of Biochemical Engineering at University College London (UCL).

His research activity focuses on the biomanufacture of advanced therapeutics including cell, gene and tissue-based therapy. Dr. Rafiq currently leads a research portfolio > £1M and focuses on translational science; specifically, scalable, automated manufacture of cell-based therapies and the development of process control strategies to drive product consistency.

He obtained his Masters in Engineering (MEng) at UCL in Biochemical Engineering before completing his PhD at Loughborough University in collaboration with Lonza.

He is a Chartered Engineer (CEng), a Chartered Scientist (CSci) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and currently pursuing an MBA at Aston Business School.

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