The Chemical Engineering Capstone class is held in Spring Term only. The following Design Problem was worked for Spring 2016:
Cell Therapy for Spinal Cord Injuries: Commercial Manufacturing Facility
In 2016 AIChE Design Competition, participants are required to design a stem cell manufacturing facility. The company is currently developing a spinal cord injury regeneration therapy that will allow patients to recover from the injury and be able to move again. There is currently an unmet need in the market for the treatment of spinal cord injuries where there are significant functional improvements.
According to the AIChE problem statement, participants will be designing the process, which includes vial thawing, cell expansion, and cell differentiation, to produce a commercial scale production of neural stem cells from a given vial of only 100,000 adult stem cells. Each step represents a multifaceted complexity. For example, the fermenter needs to be designed such that it provides sufficient and uniform gas transfer for the cells, which is conventionally done by stirring, while not compromising the integrity of the delicate cells due to shear force. A flow diagram with a brief description of each step is shown below for better understanding. This project is an ample opportunity for students to showcase their comprehensive set of skills, including literature search, process design, reactor design, adhering to cGMP production guidelines, and many more.