Mammalian cells including human cancer cells are usually transported in cryovials on dry ice or in a liquid nitrogen vapor shipping vessel between different places at long distance. The hazardous nature of dry ice and liquid nitrogen, and the associated high shipping cost strongly limit their routine use. In this study, we tested the viability and properties of cells after being preserved or shipped over long distance in Matrigel mixture for different days. Our results showed that cells mixed with Matrigel at suitable ratios maintained excellent viability (>90%) for one week at room temperature and preserved the properties such as morphology, drug sensitivity and metabolism well, which was comparable to cells cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen. We also sent cells in the Matrigel mixture via FedEx service to different places at ambient temperature. Upon arrival, it was found that over 90% of the cells were viable and grew well after replating. These data collectively suggested that our Matrigel-based method was highly convenient for shipping live cells for long distances in semi-solid gel condition and at ambient temperature.
Wang, J., Chen, P., Xu, J., Zou, J. X., Wang, H., & Chen, H. W. (2015). Transporting cells in semi-solid gel condition and at ambient temperature. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128229