I would imagine that none of you have ever been in a stem cell lab. It is a fascinating technology and the laboratory used at Vet-Stem is truly state-of-the-art. We have had hundreds of visitors tour the lab since the opening in 2003, but regular tours are not conducted while samples are being processed. We handle the fat sample shipped in by a veterinarian with great care and it is never opened to the room air. We open the sample tube only inside a sterile hood where the air is filtered through a HEPA air filter that removes contaminants such as bacteria or dust. Below is a look at one of the “hoods” for handling samples.
Sterile gloves are always used and air blows out the front of the hood window to keep any contaminants from entering the clean area.
After the sample is minced and washed, it is separated by enzymes and by high speed spinning. This causes the important cells to settle to the bottle of the tube and the fat to float on the top, making separation much easier. Below is a picture of the whole lab showing the hood and the centrifuges for spinning.
Lastly, we evaluate the stem cells under a microscope and count them in an automated counter. We then package the appropriate number of doses into sterile syringes and they are packaged in a temperature controlled box system for return to your veterinarian. Quite a journey! Here is what the cells look like under a microscope: