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New Culture Medium Supports Expansion of Natural Killer Cells for Cell and Gene Therapies

Gibco CTS NK-Xpander Medium* enables large-scale growth of functional cells for cell therapy manufacturing

CARLSBAD, Calif., Oct. 5, 2021 -- Thermo Fisher Scientific today announced the launch of Gibco Cell Therapy Systems (CTS) NK-Xpander Medium, a GMP-manufactured cell culture medium that supports large-scale growth and culture of functional natural killer (NK) cells with or without the use of feeder cells. This is the first medium from Thermo Fisher specifically designed to support expansion of NK cells for cell therapy applications and is supported by raw material traceability and regulatory documentation.

"Cell therapy developers are increasingly turning to NK cells because they do not elicit the kinds of active immune responses that trigger conditions such as graft versus host disease," said Mark Powers, vice president, research and development at Thermo Fisher Scientific. "With NK-Xpander Medium, manufacturers can reach the necessary scale they need for NK cell therapies while minimizing regulatory burden and risk."

NK cells grown in NK-Xpander Medium exhibit a greater rate of expansion when compared to NK cells grown in other media and demonstrate cell killing in in vitro and in vivo models. In addition to their low immunogenicity, the ease of availability and sourcing of NK cells, coupled with efficient in vitro expansion, make them ideally suited for the development of allogeneic cell therapies. Unlike autologous therapies, which are produced using a patient's own cells, allogeneic cell therapies are derived from healthy donor tissue, and are more conducive to cost-effective scale-up of cell therapy manufacturing. 

"NK cell therapies hold promising applications in treating solid tumors, which haven't been well served by therapies derived from other cell types," said Richard Eckert, professor and chairman at University of Maryland School of Medicine. "To capitalize on the promise of these therapies, our lab used human NK cells grown in Gibco CTS NK-Xpander Medium to study their impact on solid tumor-derived cancer cells. The NK cells cultured in NK-Xpander Medium displayed robust and potent cancer cell killing activity."

NK-Xpander Medium is part of Thermo Fisher's CTS product line, a comprehensive portfolio of GMP-manufactured products backed by regulatory documentation and designed to work synergistically, from cell isolation/activation to gene transfer and cell expansion, to address cell therapy developers' manufacturing workflow needs.

To learn more about Thermo Fisher's cell and gene therapy solutions, please visit To learn more about Gibco CTS NK-Xpander Medium, please visit

* For Research Use or Manufacturing of Cell, Gene, or Tissue-Based Products. This product is not intended for direct administration into humans or animals.

About Thermo Fisher Scientific 
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue of approximately $35 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics and therapies or increasing productivity in their laboratories, we are here to support them. Our global team of more than 90,000 colleagues delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services and Patheon. For more information, please visit

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Last Updated: 06-Oct-2021