The Future of Cell Culture: A New Continuous Bioprocess Developed

Source: Newcastle University

Summary: Researchers have developed a revolutionary Bioprocess technique that allows continuous production and collection of cells.

Cell culture is a process where the cells are taken from an animal or plant and grown artificially under controlled conditions. The traditional way of growing cells in the lab is over the surface area of a flask and then detaching them chemically or enzymatically for use. The cells are produced in batches but the batch size is limited to the area upon which the cells are grown. This restriction is a well-recognized bottle-neck in therapeutic cell manufacture. The new technique removes the limit on the number of cells that can be grown in a culture dish. Researchers from the Newcastle University have developed a coating which allows individual stromal cells to get detached and peel away from the surface on which they are grown. This creates further space for other cells to grow in their place. The research study was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Cell Culture

Comparing the new surface for cell production with the glass disc producing the same amount of cells as 14 traditional flasks. Credit: Newcastle University, UK

With this new technology, one square meter would produce enough cells to treat 4000 patients, whereas the traditional methods would require an area equivalent to a football pitch. In this new technique, a special coating “peptide amphiphile” that allows adherent cells to reach a steady balance between growth and detachment. The self-detaching cells are produced in a continuous bioprocess and available for use in different downstream applications without losing their original characteristics. The technique has obvious advantages in terms of lower production costs and increased coverage and application.

Prof. Che Connon said, “This allows us to move away, for the first time, from the batch production of cells to an unremitting process. Remarkably, with this continuous production technique even a culture surface the size of a penny can, over a period of time, generate the same number of cells as a much larger-sized flask.”

More Information: Martina Miotto et al, “Developing a Continuous Bioprocessing Approach to Stromal Cell Manufacture”, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b09809

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