|New Growth Technique Could Lead to Mass Stem Cell Production|
Durham, NC - A new method to grow stem cells could lead to cost-effective, large-scale stem cell manufacturing and research.
The technique, developed by post-doctoral researcher David Fluri and Professor Peter Zandstra of the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto (Canada), pairs the stem cell creation process known as reprogramming with a bioreactor, an apparatus that creates stable environmental conditions. Using this process the two were able to reprogram mouse cells to become first, pluripotent stem cells, and then cardiac cells.
By introducing the cultures to this particular bioreactor process, the stem cells were grown in suspension, eliminating the problems inherent in growing the cells on surfaces—something the two say has never before been accomplished.
"This is an enabling technology," Prof. Zandstra said of the discovery. "[It] takes something we showed we could do before at low efficiency, but not at such numbers that could be used in manufacturing."
Fluri hopes his discovery, which is "more compatible with large scale processes," will help ease the "bottleneck of cell production" used for research and drug development. The new process also has the potential to make this phase of cell production safer and more stable, he added.
The research is published online in Nature Methods.