Astell Saves The Day
At the cutting edge of cancer research is Cancer Research UK's Molecular Oncology Unit at Bart's and the London Medical School, Queen Mary University of London. Based in the John Vane Science Building, under the direction of Prof Nick Lemoine, researchers seek to develop genetic intervention strategies to treat and prevent cancer based on a complete understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of the disease. Bart's and The London Medical School has been fortunate enough to win a SHRIF bid which has allowed them to refurbish a complete laboratory suite for the Molecular Oncology Laboratory.
Janet England, the Laboratory Manager is excited at the prospect of taking over the newly refurbished facility. "Quite a lot of the equipment needed replacing," she says, "So this was a real opportunity to meet current specifications." But it might not have happened. Installation was well under way when Deedscan, the Main Contractor, was told that unforeseen problems at the autoclave supplier meant that they could not meet the delivery date. David Corbett, Deedscan's Managing Director was, understandably, worried. "We thought that the whole contract was going to be seriously delayed," he says, "but Bill Discombe, our Chief Engineer, suggested we talk to Astell."
Astell was able to juggle their production schedule and produce the requisite two 750 litre Square Section sterilisers within a matter of weeks. The units meet all the specifications with eight user programmes and sixteen individual cycles which are user-adjustable and PIN protected. Like all Astell autoclaves, they fully comply with HSE.PM73. The 316L stainless steel pressure vessels are manufactured in accordance with ENPED97/23EC and the doors are fitted with two adjustable cooling locks, which prevent the autoclave being opened before it is cool.
The sort of loads that need to be sterilised vary depending on the activities in the laboratory but, typically, include experimental and analytical glassware, instruments, packaging, culture media and chemical solutions. In addition, under duty of care legislation, any waste material which is potentially bio-hazardous has to be sterilised prior to disposal.
In cancer research, as in all medical and clinical laboratories, sterility is paramount. By sterility we mean the statistically complete destruction of all micro-organisms including the most resistant bacteria and spores. This is a condition that is difficult to achieve and hard to prove. Whilst some autoclaves provide only pressure monitoring, Astell autoclaves all have facilities for monitoring the temperature right through the sterilisation cycle and this can be recorded in accordance with Good Laboratory Practice.
As part of the commissioning programme, Astell validated the autoclaves during May 2004, by installing 12.10 thermocouples, to establish suitable loading configurations and cycle parameters which will assure repeatability of performance. Astell's UKAS accreditation means that the validation documentation is fully traceable and is your guarantee of quality.
Source: Astell View latest company information
Posted: August 11, 2004
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