Ex vivo laboratory at Haukeland University Hospital

Stem cells can develop into many different cell types depending on their growth conditions and which factors are used to stimulate the cells. Other cell types can also be manipulated to become specialized cell types. For research purposes, this can be done in standard laboratories, of which there are several in Bergen.

However, clinical use, i.e. using cells for patient treatment, requires an extremely clean laboratory as any contamination could represent a risk to the patient's life. Such a clean facility for cell production is now being built at Haukeland University Hospital. 'GMP-certified ex vivo laboratory' is the technical name for such facilities. There are many rules and laws to be followed when building and operating such a laboratory. A separate ventilation system must be built, and a complex system of sluices will ensure sterile working conditions.

Once this laboratory is complete, cells for clinical use will be produced in Bergen. Today, the work must be 'contracted out' and the cells have to be grown at laboratories in Oslo or abroad. The ex vivo facility will also allow the establishment of several other cell-based treatments of patients in western Norway.