independent

Sunday 18 August 2019

A new frontier...

'You have to keep samples of pharmaceutical trials for a minimum of eight years in order to provide traceability down the line'

Kilrane Business Park may be the last place you would expect to discover a futuristic facility straight out of a science fiction movie which stores human tissue cells and blood samples for research purposes. Yet, there exists Biostór, a company at the forefront of modern medicine

KILRANE BUSINESS PARK is home to the kind of enterprises you usually find near a Europort - transport and courier companies, waste disposal operations and mechanical engineering workshops.

It's probably the last place you would expect to discover a futuristic facility straight out of a science fiction movie which stores human tissues, cells and blood samples used in research.

Biostór is the only commercial biorepository of its kind in Ireland offering a certified storage and distribution service for biological samples.

Established in 2008, Biostór is approved by the Irish Medicines Board and is subject to stringent regulations set down by EU Tissues and Cells Directives.

It was set up by County Cork biologist Peadar Mcgabhann in association with his friend Uwe Kuhn, owner of the Wexford logistics company Baku, and formerly of RMF.

The chief technical assistant is Maureen Gilbert, a former employee of Nutricia in Wexford who previously worked with the Medical Research Council in Cambridge.

Baku and Biostór share a premises in Kilrane Business. It's a collaboration that seems odd but makes sense, especially when it comes to the expertise required in distributing precious samples. Biostar recently travelled to the Czech Republic to collect a sample for a private IVF clinic in Kilkenny. The strictly controlled Biostór lab stores biomaterial in a range of conditions from room temperature to super freezer (80C) and cryogenic (-196C) in liquid nitrogen vapour.

It can cater for clinical trial samples, donor materials such as cancer cells, plasma, serum and body fluids, human tissues and cell products, bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and stem cells.

The high-security facility is located inside an existing warehouse and currently has a capacity for 5 million samples.

St. James Hospital in Dublin is among Biostór's customers and if ongoing negotiations prove fruitful, the major pharmaceutical outfit Pfizer will also be using the Kilrane facility. 'You have to keep samples of pharmaceutical trials for a minimum of eight years in order to provide traceability down the line if it is required,' said Administrative Director Uwe.

Biostór has the capacity to store stem cells extracted from umbilical cords but the practice is not carried out in Ireland as yet.

One private hospital in Dublin is extracting cells from cords and storing them in England.

Giving an insight into the future of modern medicine, Uwe said parents in other countries have the private option of having stem cells extracted from anumbilical cord, to be used in treatment if the child becomes ill at a later stage in life.

'I pay €2,000 and it's stored away for 20 years for the specific benefit of my child.'

'One clear use is a treatment in which the cells are injected into a child suffering from Leukaemia.'

'There is a lot of research going on into the area of stem cell therapy including skin reproduction in people who have been badly burned. In Germany, they are researching the effectiveness of stem cell treatment in patients who have suffered heart attacks,' he said.

'It's an area we would like to get into. Ireland has become quite forward-thinking in this regard but you always have ethical issues and there is a certain validity as to why they should be discussed.'

'At the moment, it's a waste product that gets thrown away. If you use it for research, you have to have the consent of the patient,' said Uwe.

Research into stem cell therapy is developing incredibly fast, he said.

' I personally believe that medicine will change dramatically as a result of it.'

Biostor's expertise has recently come to the attention of the King Hussein Hospital in Amman, Jordan which has commissioned the company to assist it in establishing a bio-bank for cancer research in the Middle East. Kilrane Business Park may be the last place you would expect to discover a futuristic facility straight out of a science fiction movie which stores human tissue cells and blood samples for research purposes. Yet, there exists Biostór, a company at the forefront of modern medicine

KILRANE BUSINESS PARK is home to the kind of enterprises you usually find near a Europort - transport and courier companies, waste disposal operations and mechanical engineering workshops.

It's probably the last place you would expect to discover a futuristic facility straight out of a science fiction movie which stores human tissues, cells and blood samples used in research.

Biostór is the only commercial biorepository of its kind in Ireland offering a certified storage and distribution service for biological samples.

Established in 2008, Biostór is approved by the Irish Medicines Board and is subject to stringent regulations set down by EU Tissues and Cells Directives.

It was set up by County Cork biologist Peadar Mcgabhann in association with his friend Uwe Kuhn, owner of the Wexford logistics company Baku, and formerly of RMF.

The chief technical assistant is Maureen Gilbert, a former employee of Nutricia in Wexford who previously worked with the Medical Research Council in Cambridge.

Baku and Biostór share a premises in Kilrane Business. It's a collaboration that seems odd but makes sense, especially when it comes to the expertise required in distributing precious samples. Biostar recently travelled to the Czech Republic to collect a sample for a private IVF clinic in Kilkenny. The strictly controlled Biostór lab stores biomaterial in a range of conditions from room temperature to super freezer (80C) and cryogenic (-196C) in liquid nitrogen vapour.

It can cater for clinical trial samples, donor materials such as cancer cells, plasma, serum and body fluids, human tissues and cell products, bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and stem cells.

The high-security facility is located inside an existing warehouse and currently has a capacity for 5 million samples.

St. James Hospital in Dublin is among Biostór's customers and if ongoing negotiations prove fruitful, the major pharmaceutical outfit Pfizer will also be using the Kilrane facility. 'You have to keep samples of pharmaceutical trials for a minimum of eight years in order to provide traceability down the line if it is required,' said Administrative Director Uwe.

Biostór has the capacity to store stem cells extracted from umbilical cords but the practice is not carried out in Ireland as yet.

One private hospital in Dublin is extracting cells from cords and storing them in England.

Giving an insight into the future of modern medicine, Uwe said parents in other countries have the private option of having stem cells extracted from anumbilical cord, to be used in treatment if the child becomes ill at a later stage in life.

'I pay €2,000 and it's stored away for 20 years for the specific benefit of my child.'

'One clear use is a treatment in which the cells are injected into a child suffering from Leukaemia.'

'There is a lot of research going on into the area of stem cell therapy including skin reproduction in people who have been badly burned. In Germany, they are researching the effectiveness of stem cell treatment in patients who have suffered heart attacks,' he said.

'It's an area we would like to get into. Ireland has become quite forward-thinking in this regard but you always have ethical issues and there is a certain validity as to why they should be discussed.'

'At the moment, it's a waste product that gets thrown away. If you use it for research, you have to have the consent of the patient,' said Uwe.

Research into stem cell therapy is developing incredibly fast, he said.

' I personally believe that medicine will change dramatically as a result of it.'

Biostor's expertise has recently come to the attention of the King Hussein Hospital in Amman, Jordan which has commissioned the company to assist it in establishing a bio-bank for cancer research in the Middle East.

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