How Single-Use Frozen Cells Can Expedite Assay Turnaround

January 20, 2021

Prolonged waiting periods for laboratory test results can lead to several serious issues for healthcare facilities, including inaccurate diagnoses and delayed treatment. Single-use frozen cells help solve these problems as they require significantly less time to prepare for an assay. Unlike primary cells, they don't need prior cultivation or cell-passaging and they also allow for the use of a consistent cell group throughout an assay.

Using single-use frozen cells allows you to perform more assays per day, increasing your productivity and lessening the testing time. Initially, scientists primarily used frozen cells in cell-based high-throughput screening campaigns in the drug discovery process.¹ However, scientists now recommend them for use in various industries, laboratories, and applications.

How Do You Revive a Frozen Cell Line?

Frozen Cell

Before using single-use cells, you'll need to thaw them to prevent structural damage and contamination. There are specific thawing methods to follow to ensure the viability of the cells. Your BioStem Life Sciences cells arrive with instructions on storage and thawing and those supersede any other instructions.

Here is an outline of how best to thaw your cells when you're ready to begin the assay.²

Run a water bath to a temperature of 37°C. As soon as the water is hot enough, remove the vial from its container. Unscrew the lid to release any pressure that might have built up while the cells were frozen. Immediately place the vial in the water, being sure to keep the lid above the waterline.

Keep a careful eye on the vial as the thawing process should take less than a minute. Once it's mostly thawed, with only a small ice block, transfer it to the tissue culture hood. Clean the vial with a solution containing 70% ethanol and then remove the lid entirely.

Now that your single-use cells have thawed, prepare them for use in your laboratory. Remove the cell suspension from the vial using a clean Pasteur pipette. Next, transfer them to a centrifuge to remove the DMSO cryoprotectant on a low rpm setting.³ Once the spinning is complete, transfer the cell suspension to a small flask. Remove one milliliter of cells and store in a separate culture as a back-up if your primary cell culture becomes corrupted.

Place all the flasks in an incubator and wait for the results.

Why Must the Thawing of Cells Be Done Quickly?

Scientists regularly undertake new research studies on the benefits of quick thawing. However, some studies have observed that when thawed slowly, cells may lose some viability.⁴ To maintain quality control across all assays, it's best to thaw the cells the same way every time, as rapidly as possible. This technique not only ensures high-quality results but also expedites the assay process.

Thawing frozen cells

Save Time with Frozen Cells

Thawing frozen cells is a quick process, taking less than five minutes. You no longer need to cultivate primary cells or passage the cells before beginning the assay. In addition to reducing the steps required to prepare cells for use, you can also use cells from the same batch throughout your assay.

Time is precious and can mean the difference between receiving desperately needed funding and having to stop your research due to a lack of money. For some facilities, it can mean the difference between life and death.

If you are interested in expediting your lab assay with frozen cells or would like more information on their storage and use, contact BioStem Life Sciences. The highly experienced team can answer all your questions concerning stem cell research.


(1) Wehmeier, O., & Loa, A. (2020). Turning Cells into Reagents: The Preparation of Assay Ready Cells for Routine Use in Bioassays. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2095, 17–25.

(2) Freezing and thawing of cell lines. (n.d.). EuroMAbNet. Retrieved September 16, 2020, from

(3) Brockbank, KGM. (2016) Removal of Potentially Cytotoxic DMSO from Cell Therapy Cryopreservation Formulations. MOJ Cell Sci Rep. 3(4):119-120. DOI: 10.15406/mojcsr.2016.03.00067

(4) Thompson, M.L., Kunkel, E.J., and Ehrhardt, R.O. (2014). Cryopreservation and Thawing of Mammalian Cells. In eLS, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (Ed.). DOI:10.1002/9780470015902.a0002561.pub2

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