Project: Research council

Project Details


The emergence of regenerative medicine offers the potential for new therapies and procedures for diseases and injuries that cannot currently be effectively treated. Regenerative medicine involves the use of living cells and other biological molecules to restore damaged structure and function in human organs and tissues. In addition, the recent excitement arising from the discovery and potential uses of stem cells makes it timely to investigate how stem cell research can be used to treat patients. One of the key issues is how to produce enough living cells (including the very rare stem cells) that have the correct function for these new therapies. The current laboratory cell culture procedures are not efficient, nor are they standardised and cannot meet the current clinical needs. This project aims to address this acute issue by the development of a new method of efficiently culturing stem cells and other human cells to give enough cells required to treat patients. This system will be based on the idea of growing a bed of cells inside hollow beads of a biomaterial derived from seaweed (alginate) that allows the cells to grow and develop normally. The bed of beads will be expanded, by passing a flow of cell nutrients under the beads. This will cause the beads to rise up and move apart, allowing the nutrients to reach all of the beads, and hence feed the cells so that there are no limitations resulting from poor nutrient supply. After the cells have grown adequately, we can reverse the flow of media, packing the beads down again into a shape that is suitable for use with patients. In this work, we will decide what effects the key features of the culture system will have on the growth and function of both human stem cells, and also specific human cell types (eg bone cells). As part of our experiments we will measure how the cells grow and behave in the different culture environments, and compare this to conventional methods.
Effective start/end date1/02/0731/01/09


  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council


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