Every day it seems you can find a headline somewhere describing the extraordinary progress scientists have made in developing cell and gene therapies for rare genetic diseases, a variety of cancers, and common ailments that affect most of the industrialized world. Genetic material is now common in vaccines, too, as scientists discovered that mRNA is an effective starting point for eliciting a strong immune response to SARS-COV-2. But besides their genetic components, all these medical products face a common challenge: they must be kept cold during storage and transport to remain viable until they can be used.
Unfortunately, current techniques for cryopreserving cells and tissues are not built to preserve medical products. But today, scientists and engineers are developing new tools such as protein-like “peptoids” that can make cold storage and transport easier, safer and more reliable.