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New stem cell micro-environment may solve cell production problem.

NOTTINGHAM, U.K., March 31, 2014 -- Scientists here have developed a new substance which could simplify the manufacture of cell therapy in the pioneering world of regenerative medicine.

A major problem with translating current successful stem cell research into actual products and treatments is how to mass-produce such a complex living material.

There are two distinct phases in the production of stem cell products: proliferation (making enough cells to form large tissue) and differentiation (turning the basic stem cells into functional cells).

The material environment required for these two phases are different and up to now a single substance that docs both jobs has not been available.

Now a multi-disciplinary team at the University of Nottingham has created a new stem cell microenvironment which they have found has allowed both the self-renewal of cells and then their evolution into cardiomyocyte (heart) cells.

The material is a hydrogel containing two polymers: an alginate-rich environment that allows proliferation of cells with a simple chemical switch to render the environment collagen-rich when the cell population is large enough.

This change triggers the next stage of cell growth when cells develop a specific purpose.

The new combination of hydrogels allows dense tissue structures to be produced from human pluripotent stem cells (HPSC) in a single step process never achieved before.

The discovery has important implications for the future of manufacturing in regenerative medicine. There is increasing investment in manufacturing processes to ensure readiness to deliver effective treatments to patients when human pluripotent stem cell products and treatments go to trial and become standard.

Citation: "Combined hydrogels that switch human pluripotent stem cells from self-renewal to differentiation"; J. E. Dixon et al.; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2014; DOI: 10.1073/pnas. 1319685111

Abstract: 1319685111

Contact: Kevin Shakesheff,

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Title Annotation:Advanced Stem Cell Technology
Publication:Stem Cell Business News
Date:Apr 21, 2014
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