How to Choose the Right Freeze Media 

The process of cryopreservation, which has been carried out for decades, is a crucial aspect of cell preservation for various scientific endeavors — from experimental research to clinical applications. While the fundamental process involves freezing cells and storing them at ultra-low or cryogenic temperatures, the choice of cryopreservation media plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of this technique. In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of cryopreservation media and discuss both home-brew recipes and commercial options that researchers may want to consider for optimal cell preservation.

The Importance of Cryopreservation Media

Cryopreservation media serves as a safeguard for cells; preventing the formation of damaging ice crystals that could compromise cellular structures. Therefore, choosing the right cryoprotectants and additives becomes crucial to cell and gene therapy (CGT) research, especially when dealing with sensitive cells like primary or pluripotent cells.

Home-brew Formulations

Some researchers opt for crafting their own freezing medium, particularly when dealing with robust immortalized cell lines. Common home-brew recipes include a mixture of DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) and serum in growth media, aiming to prevent ice crystal formation and cell shrinkage during freezing. These recipes often provide a cost-effective solution, but may be important to study and formulate according to the unique requirements and sensitivities of each cell line.

Commercial Options

For researchers working with delicate cell types or seeking consistency, commercial freezing media offers a reliable alternative. These products often contain serum alternatives, reducing the risk of lot-to-lot variation. Investing in chemically defined and quality-checked media can ensure better reproducibility and long-term cost savings, particularly for those working with sensitive stem cells.

CryoStor Advantages

CryoStor® is manufactured to meet cGMP principles from raw materials of USP/Multicompendial grade, has a multi-year stability profile, and is backed by BioLife Solutions’ Quality Management System to deliver a consistent, quality, high performance product. This off-the-shelf solution is pre-formulated with 2%, 5%, or 10% DMSO, allowing end-users to tailor the DMSO concentration for optimal cell survival and function based on their specific cell type. Moreover, CryoStor stands out as a serum-free and protein-free solution. Its innovative design, available in various volumes and container formats, offers flexibility for scaling up processes, demonstrating CryoStor’s utility that extends beyond ensuring a comprehensive solution for diverse processing requirements.

HypoThermosol FRS Considerations

HypoThermosol FRS® (HTS-FRS) stands out as an optimized hypothermic (+2° to +8°C) preservation medium designed to enhance the extended preservation of cells, tissues, and organs. Uniquely formulated, HTS-FRS addresses the molecular-biological responses of cells during hypothermic preservation. It achieves this by incorporating key ions at concentrations that balance the intracellular state at lower temperatures. Furthermore, HTS-FRS includes essential components such as pH buffers, energy substrates, free radical scavengers, and osmotic/oncotic stabilizers to ensure comprehensive support throughout the preservation process.

Freeze Media Selection Resources

BioLife Solutions has a team of scientists with expertise in cell cryopreservation. Whether speaking from experience with previous research, guiding you to published scientific studies that have already been conducted, or helping design an experiment for preserving a new type of cell, we are here to assist in your freeze media selection process. The table below provides an incomplete list of experience, but may serve to inform and improve your research outcomes.

Company Experience with ALL CGT-Specific Research Applications:

• B Cell

• Dendritic Cell

• Human Pluripotent Stem Cell

• Granulocyte

• Lymphocyte

• Regenerative medicine

• Mesenchymal Stem Cell

• Monocyte

• Myeloid Cell

• Neural Stem Cell

• Progenitor Cell

• Advanced therapies

• T Cell

• Myogenic Stem Cell

• Killer Cell Research

• Organ Cancer Cell

• Immuno-oncology

Table 1. An incomplete list of cell types BioLife Solutions has experience preserving.



Successful cryopreservation hinges on selecting the right media, tailored to the specific needs of each cell type. Whether crafting a home-brew recipe or opting for a commercial solution, understanding the nuances of cryopreservation media is vital for ensuring longevity and functionality of preserved cells. As the field continues to evolve, researchers are continually refining techniques and exploring innovative solutions to advance the science of cryopreservation.



Dance, A. (2017, March 14). Freeze It Right: Recipes and Products for Cryopreservation Media. Biocompare.

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