(19)
(11)EP 2 691 182 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 12764963.0

(22)Date of filing:  28.03.2012
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B04B 7/16(2006.01)
B01D 17/038(2006.01)
B04B 1/00(2006.01)
B01D 61/00(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2012/030819
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/135264 (04.10.2012 Gazette  2012/40)

(54)

METHOD AND DEVICE FOR CENTRIFUGATION AND FILTRATION

VERFAHREN UND VORRICHTUNG ZUM ZENTRIFUGIEREN UND FILTRIEREN

PROCÉDÉ ET DISPOSITIF DE CENTRIFUGATION ET DE FILTRATION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 29.03.2011 EP 11290156

(43)Date of publication of application:
05.02.2014 Bulletin 2014/06

(73)Proprietor: EMD Millipore Corporation
Burlington, MA 01803 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • JOUETTE, Sebastian
    F-67120 Molsheim (FR)
  • FELDEN, Luc
    F-68000 Colmar (FR)

(74)Representative: Lutz, Katharina 
c/o Merck Patent GmbH Frankfurter Straße 250
64293 Darmstadt
64293 Darmstadt (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A2-2005/055814
US-A- 3 969 250
US-A- 4 832 850
WO-A2-2010/122548
US-A- 3 970 565
US-A1- 2004 182 788
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] The present invention relates to a mathod and a device for processing samples by centrifugation and filtration.

    Background of the Invention



    [0002] Researchers, especially in the biotech field, frequently need to know if a bioreactor of a specific setup will produce the desired final product.

    [0003] Due to an occasionally high particulate content of a bioreactor sample, the sample is currently clarified in the lad by multiple centrifugations. Subsequently, in order to simulate a sterile final product, the supernatant is filtered in a separate device. At this step it is possible to use a 0.22 µm filter membrane (i.e. a MILLEX™ 0.22µm membrane from MILLIPORE) combined with a syringe. Assuming that the filter membrane is not clogging, the maximum processed volume is the volume of the syringe which is typically 50ml.

    [0004] Furthermore, this process is a multi-step protocol where the personel has to walk several times to the centrifuge and a laminar flow hood, and it is an "open" protocol which increases the risk of contamination of the sample.

    [0005] One current approach to reduce the number of steps is to use so called ,,syringeless filters"commercially available from WHATMAN under the tradenames UNIPREP" and AUTOVIAL™.

    [0006] Autovial™ syringeless filters are preassembled filtration devices for removing particulates from samples. They replace syringe-coupled filtration devices with single, disposable units. These devices are comprised of two parts; a graduated filter barrel and a plunger. The design features an integral filter, built-in air purge and and a support stand stand that protects a recessed slip-luer tip. The devices are available in a 5ml and 12ml volume capacity.

    [0007] The filter is selected according to membrane compatibility with the sample. In practice, the sample is poured into the 5ml or 12ml capacity filter barrel. The plunger is inserted into the barrel until the bottom is securely in place; in place; there is gap of air the bottom is securely in place; there is is a gap of air between the sample and plunger. Then, the tip of the device is placed into the mouth of an autosampler vial or container and the plunger compressed. Filtration begins immediately and, as the plunger is compressed until it reaches the bottom, the membrane is purged with air for maximum sample recovery. For direct instrument injection, a needle is placed on the slipluer outlet.

    [0008] UniPrep™ syringeless filters are preassembled filtration devices, too, for the filtration and storage of laboratory samples. These devices include a plunger, filter and vial in one unit. They replace syringe-coupled filtration devices with single, disposable units. These devices consist of two parts; a test tube and a filter-plunger where a membrane is mounted into the tip of the plunger. When the filter plunger is pressed through the liquid placed in the test tube, positive pressure forces the filtrate up into a reservoir of the filter-plunger. The devices can be used to filter only small sample volumes in the range from 1 to 5 ml.

    [0009] A still further range of products are available under the name Mini-UniPrep™ which is a preassembled filtration device consisting of a 0.4ml capacity chamber and a plunger. The plunger contains a filtration membrane at one end and a preattached cap/septum at the other. The plunger is pressed through the sample in an outer chamber and positive pressure forces the filtrate into a reservoir of the plunger. Air escapes through a vent hole. The device can be used either individually manually or with a manually operated compressor unit which comprises a manually operated lever that can be pressed on up to 6 samples standing on a base. This device is designed to fit into an autosampler accommodating 12 x 32 mm vials. Alternatively the septum can be pierced with a needle and the sample drawn off for manual injection into an analyzer.

    [0010] Filter membranes of such devices are typically made from the following materials depending on the intended sample to be processed; cellulose acetate (CA) (a low nonspecific protein binding and high loading capacity membrane for biological solutions), glass microfiber (GMF) (a depth filter for samples in aqueous for organic solutions), nylon (NYL) (for aqueous and organic samples within a pH range between of 3 to 10), polyethersulfone (PES) (a low non-specific protein binding membranes for samples in aqueous solutions), polypropylene (PP) (a hydrophobic membrane which is resistant to a wide range of organic solvents), polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) (a Teflon® membrane for samples with > 50% organic solvent), polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDP) (a low nonspecific protein binding membranes for samples in aqueous solutions and/or organic solvents).

    [0011] In order to allow the filtration of difficult samples, the design incorporates a glass fiber prefilter. Although these devices are easy to use they are even more limited by the sample size (i.e. only 12ml maximum) and are subject to the clogging of the final membrane.

    [0012] US-A-5,238,003 discloses a manually operable blood drawing syringe having a barrel with a hollow cylindrical bore with an open rear end and a reduced diameter front end for the attachment of a needle. A pushrod is disposed for slidable movement within the barrel and a disc-shaped plunger or piston is attached to the forward end of the pushrod. A filter which will pass air but is imprevious to fluids is disposed between forward and rear perforated plates of the plunger and a sealing flange is disposed around the periphery of the plunger and dimensioned to fit slidingly within the cylindrical bore of the barrel. A flapper seal which is impervious to both gas and fluids is located in abutting contact with the rear face of the plunger and allows air that has passed through the filter in the plunger to escape from an upstream volume into a downstream volume as the pushrod and the plunger move forward in the barrel.

    [0013] EP-A-0294185 discloses a filtering device for fluids which is similar to the above described Autovial™ syringless filters. It comprises a barrel with an open end and a flow dischange end with a nipple that is in commnication with the interior volume of the barrel. A plunger is slidable disposed in the barrel through the open end towards the discharge end. A filter is disposed adjacent the barrel inwardly of and adjacent to the discharge nipple. In operation the sample fluid to be filtered is poured into the volume of the barrel so as to be disposed above the filter. The plunger is then inserted into the open end of the barrel and pushed towards the flow discharge end. The sample will have been fully filtered and dispensed from the nipple when the plunger is fully depressed and the forward face of the plunger engages a bottom end of the barrel. This device suffers from the premature clogging of the membrane surface if samples with a larger particulate material load are to be processed.

    [0014] WO 97/15399 discloses a portable and disposable centrifugal cell separation device for biological fluids like blood. The device comprises a hollow centrifugal processing chamber rotatable about an axis of rotation and having a common axial inlet/outlet port for the fluid to be processed. The processing chamber contains a movable plunger which defines a separation space of variable size and a vacuum/pressure space and being movable to intake the selected quantity of a sample fluid into the saparation sapce via the inlet/outlet port and to express processed sedimented fluid components after centrifugation from the separation space via the inlet/outlet port. The plunger is moved towards the inlet/outlet port end of the processing chamber by pressurized air introduced into the vacuum/pressure space.

    [0015] WO 2005/055814 shows a barrel with a movable piston and a filter to force fluid in the volume through the filter upon applying pressure on the piston and a space for the solids wherein the space is located such that the solids do not completely clog the filter medium during centrifugation.

    Object of the invention



    [0016] The object of the invention is to provide a method and a device for processing samples, especially such that are difficult to filter due to a complez matrix like samples from bioreactors, by centrifugation and filtration in a sterile environment and in a more effective manner.

    [0017] Further aspects of the invention are to provide such a method and device which are suitable to process larger volumes of such samples than in the prior art in a lab, and which can use conventional benchtop centrifuges available in many labs.

    [0018] Further advantages and features of the invention will become apparent from the following description of preferred embodiments.

    [0019] According to the present invention there is provided a filtering and centrifugation device as defined in claim 1 and a method for the sterile filtration of a sample as defined in claim 13. The invention also provides an apparatus for applying a force to one or more filtering and centrifugation device(s) of the invention as defined in claim 12. Preferred embodiments are defined in the dependent claims.

    [0020] The filtering and centrifugation device of the invention comprises a barrel comprising at least two cylinders, a volume in the barrel for receiving a fluid sample to be processed, a filter medium, and at least two pistons movable in the barrel to force fluid in the volume through the filter medium to produce a filtrate. A space is provided for pelleting particulate material, wherein said space is located in or communicates with the volume such that the particulate material does not clog or will at least not completely clog the filter medium during centrifugation of the device.

    [0021] Preferably the space for accomodating the particulate material and is located away from said filter medium and preferably comprises a recess for accomodating the particulate material.

    [0022] The method for the sterile filtration of a sample of the invention comprises the steps of introducing the sample into the volume of such a device of the invention, subjecting the device to centrifugation to pellet particulate material contained in the sample at the space away from the filter medium, and applying force to the piston(s) to force fluid of the sample in the volume through the filter medium to produce a filtrate.

    [0023] By providing the space for pelleting the particulate material of the solution to be processed under of influence of the centrifugation force applied on the device prior or simultaneously with the application of the pressure applied through the piston(s) to force the fluid through the filter medium, the clogging of the filter medium can be avoided or considerably delayed. Further, the entire process can be performed in the same device without having to remove the sample for any intermediate clarification steps.

    [0024] The device and method of the invention can be advantageously used for the filtration and concentration of complex matrices like in sample preparation (prior to preparative HPLC), for processing difficult-to-filter samples in general, for the quick filtration of large volume samples, for the extraction/concentration of proteins, and for the desalting and solvent exchange. The principles of the invention can be applied for even more large scale or industrial dimensions by increasing the volume in the barrel for the sample to be processed and/or the number of pistons/filter media integrated into the barrel and/or the number of barrels processed at the same time.

    Brief Description of the Drawing



    [0025] In the drawing:

    Figure 1 is the schematic representation of a filtering and centrifugation device not according to the invention,

    Figure 2 is a schematic representation of a filtering and centrifugation device with two pistons not according to the invention,

    Figure 3 is an embodiment with inclined cylinders for the two pistons,

    Figure 4 is a further modification of the embodiment of Figure 3 with modified pistons offering no dead volume,

    Figure 5 is a still further modification of the embodiment of Figure 3 with a separate space as concentration area in the form of a recess,

    Figure 6 is a still further modification of the embodiment of Figure 3 combining the aspects of the pistons offering no dead volume with the provision of the separate space as concentration area, and

    Figure 7 is a device having a plurality of pistons nested one inside the other, not according to the invention.


    Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiments



    [0026] The Figure 1 shows a schematic layout of a filtering and centrifugation device. The device comprises a cylindrical barrel 1 in which a piston or plunger 3 is movably received. A filter medium 4, preferably including one or more filter membranes, is attached to the plunger 3. Below the filter medium 4 is a volume 2 for receiving a fluid sample to be processed. Moving of the piston from an upper position towards a lower position in the vertical downward direction (pressing direction P) forces fluid in the volume 2 through the filter medium to produce a filtrate that is guided through a push rod 5 of the piston and a conduit 8 to an external receptacle 7, preferably in the form of a closed unit like a flexible bag (i.e. a NovaSeptum® bag). The extracting of the filtrate through the push-rod is a preferred example but a separate channel or flow path can be provided as well.

    [0027] At the bottom and of the volume in the barrel for receiveing the fluid sample is a space 6 for pelleting particulate material when the entire device is subjected to centrifugation. The centrifugation, i.e. the centrifugation force component C in the direction of the axial length of the piston will force the particulate material M in the fluid to be processed towards the space 6 in the direction of centrifugation force C. Accordingly, the filter medium 4 will be exposed only to the clarified fluid F whereas the pelleted particulate amterial in the space is located away from the filter medium. This has the consequence that the filtering of the clarified fluid by pressing the piston in the direction P will not clog the filter medium.

    [0028] The centrifugation of the device can be effected in a conventional bench top centrifuge, for example one with a 750 ml swing-round-bucket or in fixed angle rotors with appropriate dimensions. The device of Fig. 1 could, however, also be subjected to centrifugation in a mainly horizontal orientation as shown in Figure 2 and in this case the centrifuge could be a bench top centrifuge with a 96-well plate rotor, for example.

    [0029] Although not shown in Figure 1 the space for pelleting the particulate material during the centrifugation step can preferably but does not necessarily have to be a dedicated space or recess for accommodating the particulate material at the bottom and/or a periphery of the barrel. The space can be located in the volume for receiving the fluid sample but can also be a space or recess that communicates with the volume. The space or recess can be additionally preferably separated from the rest of the volume by a separation structure in the from of a grid or coarse net-like structure or the like designed to let the particulate material and fluid sample pass.

    [0030] In addition, although not shown in Figure 1, a port can be provided for allowing removal of the particulate material from the space.

    [0031] The size of the volume in the barrel for receiving the fluid sample to be processed can be considerably larger than in the prior i.e. at least 5ml, preferably at least 150 ml or further preferably at least 200 ml.

    [0032] The Figure 2 shows a device having two pistons 3a,3b in an elongated cylinder barrel 1. This allows to double the filtration area and to increase the size of the volume in the barrel for receiving the fluid sample without having to necessarily increase the stroke length of the piston in case of a single-piston device. As illustrated, below in connection with Figures 5 and 6 a dedicated recess can be provided at the lower portion of the volume to serve as a space for accommodating the particulate material pelletized during centrifugation at a position even further away from the filter media 4. In the device shown in Figure 2 there could be a certain contact of particles pelletized in consequence of the centrifugation with part of the membranes. However, during the filtration process, when the pistons come closer to each other, there is always an area of the membrane that is never in contact with the pelletized particles and remains essentially unobstructed.

    [0033] In order to prevent substantial contact of the filter media with the pelleted particles and to consequently delay or avoid the clogging of the filter media, the barrel could, as shown in Figure 3, comprise two cylinder sections 1a, 1b which respectively receive one of the pistons 3a, 3b. As shwon in Figure 3 the two cylinder selections of the barrel are inclined relative to each other with the volume 2 for receiving the fluid sample to be processed there between and with the space 6 for accomodating the pelletized particulate material located at the apex at the lower central portion of the device.

    [0034] In order to reduce the dead volume due to the V-shape, the filter media 4a, 4b could stay vertically as shown in the horizontal orientation of Figure 4 (and in consequence parallel to each other) by including the consequence parallel to each other) by including the bottom portion or pressurizing face of the pistons according to the inclination angle between the cylinders.

    [0035] In this embodiment, too, a dedicated recess or concentration area 10 can be provided as the space for pelleting the particulate material as exemplified in Figure 6 and this concentration area can be provided with or communicate with a port for removing the particulate material (not shown in the Figure).

    [0036] In the shown embodiments the filter medium, preferably in the from of one or more filter membranes, is provided at the piston(s), respectively. Accordingly, the fluid forced through the filter media, i.e. the filtrate, is guided through the push rod(s) of the pisto(s) and a conduit to one or several closed external unit(s) schematically shown in Figure 1. Although not shown in the Figures, the filter medium could be alternatively located at the bottom of the barrel (replacing for example the right piston of the device of Figure 2 by a fixed support structure holding the filter medium) so that the fluid would be forced through the filter medium into another volume downstream of that filter medium or directly to an outlet port. The filtrate could be retained in this volume and removed subsequently or again directly extracted from there through a conduit into an external unit.

    [0037] For that purpose a port can be provided which is to communicate with the downstream side of the filter medium and connected to or connectable to the external fluid receptacle.

    [0038] In operation and according to the method of the present invention for a sterile filtration of a sample, the sample to be processed is introduced into the volume 2 of the device as described above. Then, entire device is subjected to centrifugation force C (i.e 500g or more, preferably 100g or more and typically up to 4000g), in a direction depending on the layout of the device, thereby pelleting the particulate material contained in the sample at the space 6 in the volume away from the filter medium.

    [0039] Depending on the direction of application of the centrifugal force and especially depending on the orientation of the device in relation to the centrifugation axis there could act a certain centrifugation force component on the piston forcing it to move within the cylinder. If such a movement is to be avoided either the frictional resistance between the piston and the cylinder can be set appropriately, or means can be provided to hold the piston in place despite of the centrifugation force, i.e. in the form of engaging recesses/protrusions or a breakable connection, between the piston and cylinder.

    [0040] By applying a force P to the piston(s) the friction or holding force of the piston can be overcome and the fluid of the sample in the volume is forced through the filter medium 4 in the direction F of filtration, thereby producing the desired filtrate.

    [0041] The application the force to the pistons to force the fluid through the filter medium can be applied sequentially after the centrifugation or can be applied simultaneously with the centrifugation.

    [0042] After the desired filtrate has been collected in a separate volume within the barrel or extracted into an external receptacle, the particulate material collected at the space can be either retained in the device and discarded with it or extracted as well, preferably through the dedicated port communicating with the space where the particulate material is accomodated.

    [0043] The benefit of the method and device of the present invention is to mimic all downstream processing steps previously done in the lab at different locations or in repeated steps with only a single device in a shorter period of time. The device and method of the invention provide a possibility to produce a final sterile product in large volumes from a large volume bioreactor sample.

    [0044] In order to apply the force P on the two or more piston(s) of the filtering and centrifugation device of the invention, an apparutus can be envisaged which can accomodate one or more of the filtering and centrifugation device(s). Such an apparutus comprises an electrical, pneumatic or mechanical actuator for moving the two or more piston(s) in the barrel of the respective device(s) to force the fluid through the respective filter media. The use of such an electrical, pneumatic or mechanical actuator provides the advantage that a sufficiently large force or pressure P (i.e. 10bar or more) can be applied in a constant, repeatable and controlled manner, or, if desired, in a predefined application pattern over time, for example in that the actuator is controlled by a predefined program.

    [0045] Further, such actuators provide a sufficiently large force to process the large volumes for which the device of the present invention is designed.

    [0046] The filter media are to be selected such that they are compatible with the specific sample types to be processed and structured to produce the desired filtrate from it. One example is the use of a 0.22µm filter membrane (i.e. a Durapore® sterilizing-grade 0.1µm and 0.22µm hydrophilic polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membrane from MILLIPORE) that is also used in the open protocol described in the introduction portion. Further, the filter media as described in connection with the filter membranes of the WHATMAN devices on page 3 of the description can be alternatively used. Still further, a stacked membrane could be employed with one or more clarification membrane(s) (i.e. AN3H & AN50 from MILLIPORE) placed before the sterilizing-grade membrane. The stacked membrane configuration further reduces the early clogging of the sterilized-grade membrane.

    [0047] The filter media is dependant on the application, i.e. ultrafiltration for protein concentration or desalt/buffer exchange. In this case, cellulose membranes can be used. Ultrafiltration is a method to concentrate proteins or other macromolecules through a semipermeable membrane with defined pores. Ultrafiltration is applicable for sample desalting, concentrating proteins from dilute solution such as urine samples, or deproteinizing samples with high protein concentration (i.e. blood serum or plasma).

    [0048] The device of the invention is a single unit that is convenient to use. The device does not require assembly and is easy to load. If the material chosen for the device is inexpensive, the device may be designed as a disposable unit.

    [0049] Since the device of the invention can be a self contained device, it eliminates the risk of filter pop-off and is thus ideal also for hazardous samples.

    [0050] If output ports of the (not shown) of the device are opened, the membrane is venting allowing filling the barrel completely. Nevertheless, by integrating an air purge valve into the device the sample recovery can be further maximized.

    [0051] If the device is pre-sterilized, sample integrity can be maintained because the sample does not have to be removed for any steps of the processing.

    [0052] Although only embodiments with two pistons are described, even more than two pistons can be integrated in a barrel, for example in a serial or radial arrangement, wherein the cylinder sections receiving the respective pistons can be inclined relative to each other and, in such case, the membrane surfaces of the pistons can be inclined as well such that the membrane surfaces become parallel to each other as exemplified in Figures 4 and 6 above.

    [0053] A still further filtering and centrifugation device is shown in Figure 7. In this device a plurality of pistons 3a, 3b are nested one inside the other, each piston having a filter medium 4a, 4b provided to its bottom. The filter media can be different from each other in that the filter medium 4a of the first piston 3a arranged in the barrel 1 providing the volume 2 for receiving the fluid sample to be processed and the space 6 for pelleting the particulate material is selected to be a prefilter membrane whereas the filter medium 4b of the second piston 3b arranged in a volume of the first piston 3a downstream of medium thereof is a filtration membrane (i.e. a sterilizing-grade membrane). Additional pistons with filter media of intermeditate porosity can be nested inside the second piston in the same manner with the sterilizing-grade membrane being provided on the most downstream piston. This device can be an alternative to the stacked membrane design described above providing larger volume on each downstream stage of filtration.

    [0054] In order to seal each stage from the upstream stage, gaskets 11 or other sealing structures can be provided on each of the nested pistons. Further, the space for pelleting particulate material away from the respective filter medium can be provided not only in or in communication with the volume of the barrel for receiving the sample fluid but also in selected ones of the downstream stages within the pistons.

    [0055] Applications of a force P on the respective pistons will successively force the filtrate from the sample volume 2 in the barrel 1 to the more downstream volumes 2a, 2b.


    Claims

    1. A filtering and centrifugation device, comprising:

    a barrel;

    a volume in the barrel for receiving a fluid sample to be processed;

    a filter medium;

    at least one piston movable in the barrel to force fluid in the volume through the filter medium to produce a filtrate; and

    a space for pelleting particulate material,

    wherein the device is centrifugeable, and

    wherein said space is located in or communicates with the volume such that the particulate material does not or at least not completely clog the filter medium during such centrifugation of the device,

    characterized in that the device comprises at least two pistons with the volume for receiving fluid located therebetween; and

    the barrel comprises at least two cylinders respectively receiving one of the at least two pistons.


     
    2. The filtering and centrifugation device according to claim 1, wherein the filter medium includes one or more filter membrane(s).
     
    3. The filtering and centrifugation device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the space for accomodating the particulate material is located away from said filter medium and preferably comprises a dedicated space or recess for accomodating the particulate material.
     
    4. The filtering and centrifugation device according to claim 3, wherein the recess comprises a communication port for allowing removal of the particulate material.
     
    5. The filtering and centrifugation device according to one or more of claims 1 to 4, wherein the at least two cylinders are inclined relative to each other with the space for accomodating the particulate material located at an apex.
     
    6. The filtering and centrifugation device according to one or more of claims 1 to 5, wherein the at least two pistons are opposed to each other.
     
    7. The filtering and centrifugation device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the filter medium is located at the piston(s).
     
    8. The filtering and centrifugation device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the barrel comprises a second volume on the downstream side of the filter medium arranged to receive filtrate having passed the filter medium.
     
    9. The filtering and centrifugation device according to claim 8, further comprising a port connected or connectable to an external fluid receptacle and communicating with the second volume on the downstream side of the filter medium.
     
    10. The filtering and centrifugation device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the/each piston cooperates with a pushrod adapted to engage with an external device for applying force to urge the piston.
     
    11. The filtering and centrifugation device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the size of the volume in the barrel for receiving the fluid sample is at least 5ml, preferably at least 150ml, more preferably at least 200ml.
     
    12. The filtering and centrifugation device according to any previous claim and an apparatus for applying a force to the filtering and centrifugation device, comprising an electrical, pneumatical or mechanical actuator for moving the two or more piston(s) in the barrel of the respective device.
     
    13. A method for the sterile filtration of a sample, comprising the steps:

    introducing the sample into the volume of a device as defined in any one of claims 1 to 11;

    subjecting the device to centrifugation to pellet particulate material contained in the sample at the space away from the filter medium; and

    applying force to the piston(s) to force fluid of the sample in the volume through the filter medium to produce a filtrate.


     
    14. The method according to claim 13, further comprising a step of recovering particulate material collected at the space and/or filtrate from the device towards an external receptacle.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung, umfassend:

    eine Trommel;

    ein Volumen in der Trommel zum Aufnehmen einer Flüssigkeitsprobe, die verarbeitet werden soll;

    ein Filtermedium;

    mindestens einen Stempel, der in der Trommel beweglich ist, so dass Flüssigkeit in dem Volumen durch das Filtermedium gedrückt wird, um ein Filtrat zu erzeugen, und

    einen Raum zum Sedimentieren von partikulärem Material,

    wobei die Vorrichtung zentrifugierbar ist und

    wobei sich der Raum in dem Volumen oder in Kommunikation damit befindet, so dass das partikuläre Material das Filtermedium während einer solchen Zentrifugation der Vorrichtung nicht oder zumindest nicht vollständig verstopft,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Vorrichtung mindestens zwei Stempel umfasst, wobei das Volumen zum Aufnehmen von Flüssigkeit sich dazwischen befindet, und

    die Trommel mindestens zwei Zylinder umfasst, die jeweils einen der mindestens zwei Stempel aufnehmen.


     
    2. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Filtermedium eine oder mehrere Filtermembran(en) enthält.
     
    3. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei der Raum zum Aufnehmen des partikulären Materials von dem Filtermedium entfernt angeordnet ist und vorzugsweise einen speziellen Raum oder eine spezielle Aussparung zum Aufnehmen des partikulären Materials umfasst.
     
    4. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 3, wobei die Aussparung eine Kommunikationsöffnung umfasst, um das Entnehmen des partikulären Materials zu ermöglichen.
     
    5. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach einem oder mehreren der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei die mindestens zwei Zylinder relativ zueinander geneigt sind, wobei sich der Raum zum Aufnehmen des partikulären Materials an einem Scheitelpunkt befindet.
     
    6. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach einem oder mehreren der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei die mindestens zwei Stempel einander gegenüberliegen.
     
    7. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Filtermedium an dem (den) Stempel(n) angeordnet ist.
     
    8. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Trommel ein zweites Volumen auf der stromabwärts gelegenen Seite des Filtermediums umfasst, das dafür ausgelegt ist, Filtrat aufzunehmen, das durch das Filtermedium hindurchgelangt ist.
     
    9. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 8, die ferner eine Öffnung umfasst, die mit einem externen Flüssigkeitsauffangbehälter verbunden ist oder verbunden werden kann und mit dem zweiten Volumen auf der stromabwärts gelegenen Seite des Filtermediums kommuniziert.
     
    10. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der/jeder Stempel mit einer Stößelstange zusammenwirkt, die dafür ausgelegt ist, mit einer externen Vorrichtung zum Anlegen von Kraft zum Drücken des Stempels ineinanderzugreifen.
     
    11. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Größe des Volumens in der Trommel zum Aufnehmen der Flüssigkeitsprobe mindestens 5 ml, vorzugsweise mindestens 150 ml, stärker bevorzugt mindestens 200 ml beträgt.
     
    12. Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch und Vorrichtung zum Anlegen einer Kraft an die Filtrier- und Zentrifugationsvorrichtung, umfassend einen elektrischen, pneumatischen oder mechanischen Antrieb zum Bewegen der zwei oder mehreren Stempel in der Trommel der jeweiligen Vorrichtung.
     
    13. Verfahren zur Sterilfiltration einer Probe, das die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    Einbringen der Probe in das Volumen einer Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11;

    Unterziehen der Vorrichtung einer Zentrifugation, um in der Probe enthaltenes partikuläres Material an dem von dem Filtermedium entfernt gelegenen Raum zu sedimentieren, und

    Anlegen von Kraft an den (die) Stempel, um Flüssigkeit der Probe in dem Volumen durch das Filtermedium zu drücken, so dass ein Filtrat erzeugt wird.


     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 13, das ferner einen Schritt der Gewinnung von an dem Raum gesammeltem partikulärem Material und/oder Filtrat aus der Vorrichtung in Richtung zu einem externen Auffangbehälter umfasst.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation, comprenant :

    un tambour ;

    un volume dans le tambour pour recevoir un échantillon de fluide qui doit être traité ;

    un milieu de filtre ;

    au moins un piston qui peut être déplacé dans le tambour de manière à forcer un fluide dans le volume au travers du milieu de filtre de manière à produire un filtrat ; et

    un espace pour pastiller un matériau particulaire ; dans lequel :
    le dispositif peut être soumis à centrifugation ; et dans lequel :

    ledit espace est localisé dans le volume ou il communique avec le volume de telle sorte que le matériau particulaire n'obstrue pas le milieu de filtre pendant cette centrifugation du dispositif ou de telle sorte qu'au moins, il ne l'obstrue pas complètement ;

    caractérisé en ce que le dispositif comprend au moins deux pistons, le volume pour recevoir le fluide étant localisé entre eux; et

    le tambour comprend au moins deux cylindres qui reçoivent respectivement l'un des au moins deux pistons.


     
    2. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le milieu de filtre inclut une ou plusieurs membrane(s) de filtre.
     
    3. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel l'espace pour loger le matériau particulaire est localisé à distance dudit milieu de filtre et de préférence, il comprend un espace ou évidement dédié pour loger le matériau particulaire.
     
    4. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon la revendication 3, dans lequel l'évidement comprend un orifice de communication pour permettre l'enlèvement du matériau particulaire.
     
    5. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon une ou plusieurs des revendications 1 à 4, dans lequel les au moins deux cylindres sont inclinés l'un par rapport à l'autre ou les uns par rapport aux autres, l'espace pour loger le matériau particulaire étant localisé au niveau d'un apex.
     
    6. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon une ou plusieurs des revendications 1 à 5, dans lequel les au moins deux pistons sont opposés l'un à l'autre ou les uns aux autres.
     
    7. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le milieu de filtre est localisé au niveau du/des piston(s).
     
    8. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le tambour comprend un second volume sur le côté aval du milieu de filtre, lequel second volume est agencé de manière à ce qu'il reçoive le filtrat qui a passé le milieu de filtre.
     
    9. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon la revendication 8, comprenant en outre un orifice qui est connecté ou qui peut être connecté à un réceptacle de fluide externe et qui communique avec le second volume sur le côté aval du milieu de filtre.
     
    10. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le/ chaque piston coopère avec une tige-poussoir qui est adaptée de manière à ce qu'elle s'engage avec un dispositif externe pour appliquer une force pour solliciter le piston par poussée.
     
    11. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel la taille du volume dans le tambour pour recevoir l'échantillon de fluide est d'au moins 5 ml, de préférence d'au moins 150 ml, de façon davantage préférable d'au moins 200 ml.
     
    12. Dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes et appareil pour appliquer une force sur le dispositif de filtrage et de centrifugation, comprenant un actionneur électrique, pneumatique ou mécanique pour déplacer les deux pistons ou plus dans le tambour du dispositif respectif.
     
    13. Procédé pour la filtration stérilisante d'un échantillon, comprenant les étapes constituées par :

    l'introduction de l'échantillon à l'intérieur du volume d'un dispositif tel que défini selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11 ;

    la soumission du dispositif à centrifugation de manière à pastiller un matériau particulaire qui est contenu dans l'échantillon au niveau de l'espace à distance du milieu de filtre ; et

    l'application d'une force sur le(s) piston(s) de manière à forcer un fluide de l'échantillon dans le volume au travers du milieu de filtre de manière à produire un filtrat.


     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 13, comprenant en outre une étape constituée par la récupération du matériau particulaire qui est collecté au niveau de l'espace et/ou du filtrat depuis le dispositif en direction d'un réceptacle externe.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description