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Senior Design Team Uses Knowledge for Real World Application with Terumo BCT

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Ritchie School Communications Team

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The Ritchie School hosted their annual Senior Design Symposium on May 15 virtually. All twelve senior design teams participated and worked hard to ensure that the Ritchie community was able to learn about their projects.

One of the senior design teams was sponsored by Terumo BCT. Terumo BCT is a cutting-edge medical device company that aims to unlock the full potential of blood therapy.

The senior design team consisted of: Jean Zallow (BS ME) – Project Manager; Maxwell Gordon (BS CpE); Sarah McClain (BS ME); Rebecca Weiss (BS EM); CJ Charnas (BS ME).

Terumo BCT Senior Design Team

T-cell therapy is a process by which a cancer patient’s cells are extracted, reengineered, and infused into their blood with new receptors that allow them to attack cancerous cells. Terumo BCT has automated the final step of T-cell therapies, the fill and finish step, with their FINIA device. The FINIA mixes a patients’ cells with cryoprotectant and buffer, but has to stop pumping in fluid whenever the mixture becomes too warm. The FINIA’s current runtime can reach 45 minutes; the device must be regularly monitored during this time by a lab technician which is expensive. This step also introduces user error, affecting the consistency of the process.

The Minia: Final Design

This senior design team was tasked with creating a method to automate the Fill and Finish process. By agitating and cooling the fluids destined for FINIA while they are pumped in, the total runtime can be greatly shortened. This accessory effectively monitors the temperature and homogeneity of incoming materials and controls fluid input of three products according to the technician’s specifications. By making the Fill and Finish process automated, technician time and resources can be saved, making T-cell therapy cheaper and therefore more accessible.

This senior design team’s work with Terumo BCT has the potential to improve cellular viability of FINIA’s final product and improve T-Cell therapy success rates, which could allow this to be accessed by more people. Their hard work allowed this team to utilize their skills and apply them in a real world setting in the medical device industry. This was a great learning experience for the team and grow as professionals.

The Automated Mixing and Cooling Apparatus for the FINIA Fill and Finish System in T-Cell Therapy Pitch Video.