Civilian and military blood banks have long struggled with speeding up the safe delivery of thawed plasma for patients needing life-saving transfusions. Current plasma thawing techniques are as old as defrosting frozen chicken in a pot of water — medical thawers are basically hot water baths that thaw deeply frozen plasma for short term storage in a refrigerator, or to transfusion temperatures. Plasma thawing water baths, just like water for frozen chicken, are slow, require enormous energy to heat the water, lack precision, and since water is heavy and easy to contaminate, these baths can’t be moved and need constant cleaning.
“Plasma thawing has seen virtually no innovation in the past several decades of freezing blood, plasma, other tissues and biologics for later use,” says FreMon Scientific CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Farideh Bischoff. “High tech hot water baths have been as good as it gets.”
The result? Plasma throughput at a clinic or blood bank hits a bottleneck at the thawing process. Clinics need complex logistics to deliver thawed plasma to patients, maintenance costs are high, laboratories lose valuable counter space, and worst of all, there’s an enormous amount of wasted plasma — a critical loss to the donating service members, to the labs and to the patients.
“This is why ZipThaw is so exciting,” Dr. Bischoff continued. “Now, for the first time, we can safely and quickly thaw plasma and other biologics with dry technology that carefully preserves coagulation factors and antibody levels. The ZipThaw system is the first to do this.”
ZipThaw safely and precisely expedites plasma thawing. ZipThaw uses patented dry technology, no more water baths. This makes it light enough to push on a cart or pick up with your hand. For the first time in the history of plasma thawing, you can now thaw at the point of care: at the bedside, in the OR, anywhere you need. Location and technology means faster thawing.
Unlike water baths, ZipThaw doesn’t require recalibration when you relocate it. Simply move ZipThaw, plug it in, you’re ready to thaw. (Future model lines will include a smaller unit with batteries for tactical field operations.)
Beyond portability, ZipThaw uses a touch screen, advanced sensors, an anti-contamination disposable sleeve and integrated tools to make thawing easy, safe and precise.
A graphical touch screen interface makes thawing as simple as pressing a button. Via remote or in-person training, clinicians and technicians can learn how to operate ZipThaw in about half an hour.
Since there is also almost no required maintenance, you can thaw as much plasma as you like with no downtime.
Also, integrated tools like a barcode scanner means you don’t have to hunt around for separate parts, simply wave the frozen specimen at the scanner and you’re ready.
ZipThaw has certifications and clearances from the FDA, ISO, UL, and other authorities. It works with the disposable ZipSleeve anti-contamination barrier, and multiple failsafes like drip trays, to reduce risk of contamination to almost zero, and to require almost no maintenance or downtime. Plasma never touches the ZipThaw device, it’s always contained in a ZipSleeve. If there’s a rupture, simply toss out the ZipSleeve and start over.
Hot water baths measure the temperature of the water, not the actual plasma specimen. ZipThaw, working with ZipSleeve and an array of on-board RFID and other sensors, precisely tracks the temperature of the thawing plasma itself, not its surroundings. For the first time, you can know the precise temperature of the plasma before administering it to a patient.
Timers also alert clinicians to plasma aging and viability. You always know your plasma status.
Here’s how it works:
- Wave frozen plasma bag at the integrated barcode scanner to track custody.
- Load frozen plasma into a ZipSleeve.
- Place the loaded ZipSleeve in one of the two independently operated thawing chambers.
- Press a button and wait. You can control the thawing curve by stopping anytime, or you can wait for the plasma to thaw to your pre-selected temperature.
- Take out the ZipSleeve, remove the plasma. That’s it.
Clinicians are using ZipThaw in a select number of blood banks, research labs and hospitals, including at the Winn Army Community Hospital in Fort Stewart, Georgia where a recent installation demo was conducted by the FreMon Scientific team. Scientists at the Armed Services Blood Program are evaluating ZipThaw to improve their thawing operations.
ZipThaw and ZipSleeves are made in the USA and the company, FreMon Scientific, is co-founded by a two-tour Vietnam War combat veteran with a bronze star, purple heart and more.
To learn more and purchase ZipThaw, please contact FreMon Scientific at:
This article was originally published on March 30, 2021