Hollow fibre membrane bioreactors for tissue engineering applications

Nelly Wung, Samuel M. Acott, David Tosh, Marianne J. Ellis

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42 Citations (SciVal)
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Hollow fibre membrane bioreactors (HFB) provide a novel approach towards tissue engineering applications in the field of regenerative medicine. For adherent cell types, HFBs offer an in vivo-like microenvironment as each fibre replicates a blood capillary and the mass transfer rate across the wall is independent from the shear stresses experienced by the cell. HFB also possesses the highest surface area to volume ratio of all bioreactor configurations. In theory, these factors enable a high quantity of the desired cellular product with less population variation, and favourable operating costs. Experimental analyses of different cell types and bioreactor designs show encouraging steps towards producing a clinically relevant device. This review discusses the basic HFB design for cell expansion and in vitro models; compares data produced on commercially available systems and addresses the operational differences between theory and practice. HFBs are showing some potential for mammalian cell culture but further work is needed to fully understand the complexities of cell culture in HFBs and how best to achieve the high theoretical cell yields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2357-2366
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2014


  • Bioprocessing
  • Bioreactor
  • Cell therapies
  • Hollow fibre membrane
  • Scale up
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology


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