Media Survey Panel vs. Media Screen: An Interview with R&D Scientist Catherine Nguyen on Benefit of Using a Media Survey Panel versus Media Screen Protocols
We recently sat down with Catherine Nguyen, a rising scientist at FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific who oversees our Media Survey Panel program, to discuss the key differences between a cell culture media survey and a media screen—and why these differences matter. Here are some highlights from our discussion:
Q. What is a Media Survey Panel?
A. A media survey panel (MSP) refers to a panel of custom-selected media, sourced from the extensive FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific media library. The media library aspect is significant, as our library has been developed over the course of the company’s 50-year history. Many of the formulations were developed to specifically address a vast array of cell types aligned with our customer needs and goals throughout the years.
We currently provide three media survey panel options to help customers discover the right formulation for a particular application. CHO Media Survey Panel is targeted for CHO cell lines, HEK Media Survey Panel (HMSP) for HEK293 cells, and Perfusion Media Survey Panel (PMSP) for CHO cells in continuous, long-term culturing processes. With the CHO Media Survey Panel, a custom array of targeted media helps customers find the right formulation for improved growth, productivity, and quality of their CHO cells. HEK Media Survey Panel (HMSP) delivers a curated compilation of media formulations that are narrowed down to HEK293 to help deliver improved performance and quality for virus production. And for the Perfusion Media Survey Panel (PMSP), selected media are designed to sustain high cell densities over the long term, in a perfusion process, and achieving an increase in production.
The media survey panels feature access to growth media and feeds, optimized for specific cells and applications, along with support from our R&D media experts and application scientists.
Q. What are the differences between a media survey panel and a media screen?
A. A media screen evaluates a large and somewhat random selection of media. The screen just supplies an array of formulations with the goal of evaluating how they affect the chosen cell line, but does not address the cell line’s specific behaviors in culture, such as nutrient consumption or growth rate. A screen is a “guess-and-check” approach.
On the other hand, FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific offers media survey panels that follow a more strategic approach to helping customers achieve their individual goals. For example, our media specialists take an in-depth look at what the customer is doing, considering both their cell line and process, and then pull from the varying media within our library to test specific formulas that we believe will work most effectively with their cell line.
Basically, the media survey panel is a more targeted and individualized approach to media selection. We’re leveraging our expertise to assemble a selection of media we know has the potential to produce the desired outcome for a customer’s cell line.
Q. Can you provide more information on how you select which media to include in the media survey panel?
A. Yes. The selection process is nuanced and depends on what the customer has told us about both their cell line and desired outcomes. However, typically we initiate a project with our Field Application Scientists working very closely with customers to evaluate their goals and examine their current data. They will often arrange a phone conference with the customer and our R&D team to really answer all their questions and set up the media survey panel for success. It’s those one-to-one conversations that allow our scientists to get a strong sense of what the customer is aiming for and provide appropriate recommendations.
For example, if the customer is using a particular cell line that we know does not pair well with specific formulations, we will completely avoid those media altogether. Alternatively, if a customer tells us their cell lines don’t grow as well as desired, we may recommend a leaner feed versus a richer feed that may be too much for that cell line. We also want to make sure we are synchronizing the growth media and feeds as early as possible, finding the “perfect pair” to save time and resources. At the same time, the enormous selection of media prototypes we can draw from gives the customer a high probability of finding a great option for their process.
Since this process is unique to each customer, the questions we ask and the criteria we use to evaluate which media to include in their survey vary. We strive to understand the customers’ desired goals; once we understand those, we tailor our approach to ensure they are only testing formulas that have the real potential to achieve their goals.
Q. Why do the differences between a media screen panel and a media survey panel matter to a customer’s long-term objectives?
A. Each media survey panel offers a truly personalized approach to cell culture media selection, which can have a profound impact on identifying not only the right cell culture media for their cell line—but also the specific combination of growth and feed media to expedite the entire process for the customer. Our media are all chemically defined and animal component-free, which can help a customer move into production seamlessly and with minimal interruption.
Most customers rapidly identify a well-performing medium directly from the media survey panel since our library was developed from various projects and cell lines over the years. From there, if necessary, we can always work with a customer to further improve the formulation for their cell line and process.
Finally, each media survey panel offers clients one-on-one guidance and technical support from R&D and the application scientists, which can help save them both trouble and time during evaluation. It’s a streamlined, targeted approach to media selection, and for large organizations, where time and money are of the essence, it can help them reach their long-term objectives more economically.
In contrast, a media screen is just a simple guess-and-check approach—the entire process can take much longer and require many more experiments before the right formulation is identified, if found at all.
Q. Once the media survey panel is complete, and a customer has settled on a prototype for their needs, what happens next?
A. Successful media can be manufactured in pilot scale through our Express Media Service (EMS) program in just ten business days. Alternatively, the initial prototype from the media survey panel can be further optimized through the Media Development and Optimization Program, which offers customers an even more personalized approach to media development. And once the perfect formula is locked in, large volumes of custom media can be manufactured in our state-of-the-art cGMP facilities in California, Japan, and Europe.
About Catherine Nguyen:
Catherine Nguyen received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Since joining FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific in 2012, Catherine has worked on various MDO projects, as well as helped to develop multiple commercially available media and is currently managing the Media Survey Panel program.