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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why use UltraGRO™ as an alternative to FBS?
  2. Answer: UltraGRO™ is a supplement for cell culture that contains a natural mixture of human growth factors including; PDGF, bFGF, EGF, TGF-beta1, VEGF, other cytokines and proteins which yield superior results when culturing many types of human cells, particularly human MSC, regardless of their tissue source. The future of cell therapy is to be xenogeneic-free and UltraGRO™ products offer xenogeneic-free/serum substitutes for replacing FBS and improving your cell culture processes.
  3. What does the cost of UltraGRO™ compare to FBS?
  4. Answer: FBS is commonly used at 10~20% concentration in cell culture for MSC expansion and UltraGRO™ products are typically used at 5% concentration, or 1/4th of the volume of FBS used. So when you compare cost, you should therefore compare UltraGRO™ to 2-4X your current FBS cost. Please see product information.
  5. What MSCs have been tested with UltraGRO™?
  6. Answer: UltraGRO™ has been tested internally on cultivation of human bone marrow derived, adipose tissue derived, and umbilical cord derived MSCs. Our customers and other recent research publications also demonstrate that UltraGRO™ will work well for human amniotic and cord blood derived MSCs.
  7. Why does UltraGRO™ require heparin to be added into the cell culture?
  8. Answer: Heparin is an anti-coagulant that prevents the fibrinogen in human platelet lysate from clotting in the cell culture medium during cell expansion. Porcine-derived heparin has been an FDA approved drug for injection into humans for over 30 years. Therefore, from a safety and regulatory perspective, there should be no concern about adding small amounts of heparin into cell culture medium for expanding cells for research or cell therapy production.
  9. Why do I see precipitate or particulate matter in UltraGRO™?
  10. Answer: The presence of particulate matter is a result of fibrinogen converting to insoluble fibrin resulting from freezing and thawing human platelet lysate. This particulate matter does not indicate contamination of any sort, and does not have any negative impact on cell culture performance. To avoid particulate matter from forming, we suggest minimal freeze / thaw cycles when using UltraGRO™. For optimal results when using UltraGROTM, please follow the "Tips for Optimal UltraGRO™ Use" provided from Helios.
  11. How and where is UltraGRO™ processed?
  12. Answer: UltraGRO™ is manufactured in our Atlanta, GA facility from human platelet units obtained from FDA-registered or HC-registered blood banks in North American. Donors are carefully selected, platelets are fully screened by the blood banks, and then processed by Helios’ proprietary methods and stringent quality standards, then passed through a 0.2 μm filter to produce and fill a sterile bottled product. UltraGRO™ release criteria include testing for endotoxin, mycoplasma and sterility. A Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is provided with each product shipped from every production lot.
  13. Is a GMP-grade UltraGRO™ available?
  14. Answer: Yes. UltraGRO™ is available as a GMP product. As regulatory requirements for ancillary materials differ from region-to-region, it is best to discuss your GMP needs with Helios prior to purchasing GMP UltraGRO™.
  15. How long can frozen UltraGRO™ be stored?
  16. Answer: UltraGRO™ is stable for 2.5 years from the date of manufacture when stored properly at -20°C. Uninterrupted frozen storage at -20°C for 2.5 years does not decrease UltraGRO™ performance in cell culture. However, interrupted storage or storage at higher temperatures may affect results. We anticipate that our ongoing studies will indicate that the shelf life of UltraGRO™ is longer than 2.5 years.
  17. What other cell types can be grown in UltraGRO™?
  18. Answer: UltraGRO™ has been used for culturing natural killer (NK) cells, cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells, and CD3⁺CD8⁺ T cells with success. Third party publications have reported replacement of FBS and serum-free supplements with hPL for successful expansion of other cell lines, including: fibroblast, CHO cells, corneal epithelial cells, endothelial cell lines, and some cancer cell lines (such as K562, Jurkat, HeLa, and MCF-7)

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