An overview of new progress in stem cell culture manufacturing technology (part one)

Stem cells are primitive cells that can survive for long periods of time and have the ability to self-reproduce and multi-directionalize. They almost present in all tissues. In recent years, with the deepening of research by scientists, stem cells have seen hope in the treatment of various diseases, such as blood system diseases, nervous system diseases, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, and endocrine diseases.

Stem cell technology is one of the most advanced and hottest directions in medical research. It has developed rapidly in recent years and has achieved exciting results. At the same time, scientists have made great achievements in the cultivation and manufacture of stem cells. Scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital developed a new program that could revolutionize the process of adult stem cell culture.

In this article, we made an overview of new technologies or progress in stem cell manufacturing.

1. SCTM: developed method for producing adult stem cells initially.


Scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia have developed the first method of producing adult stem cells in the world. This research will profoundly affect patients with a series of serious diseases.

The study was conducted in collaboration with a number of research institutions, including the University of Queensland’s Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, led by Nicholas Fisk, a professor at the University of Queensland Clinical Research Center.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can be used to repair bones and potentially repair other organs. This study reveals a new approach to producing mesenchymal stem cells.

Professor Fisk said, “We use a small molecule, SB431542, a transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) pathway inhibitor, to induce embryonic stem cells for 10 days (to produce mesenchyme). Stem cells are produced at a much faster rate than other studies reported in the literature. This technique can also be applied to less controversial induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

2. Biofabrication: A major breakthrough in 3D printing of human embryonic stem cells.

DOI: 10.1088/1758-5082/5/1/015013

In a new study, a team from Scotland first used a new three-dimensional printing technique to arrange human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The results of the study were published on February 5, 2013 In the Biofabrication journal, the paper titled “Development of a valve-based cell printer for the formation of human embryonic stem cell spheroid aggregates”. This breakthrough is expected to allow people to use hESCs to construct three-dimensional tissues and structures, thereby accelerating and improving the drug testing process.

In the field of biomanufacturing, the fabrication of three-dimensional tissues and organs by combining artificial solid structures and cells has made great progress in recent years. However, in most previous studies, animal cells were used to test different printing methods in order to fabricate these structures.

Dr. Will Wenmiao Shu, co-author of the paper and researcher at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, said, “As far as we know, this is the first time to print hESCs. Using hESCs to create three-dimensional structures will allow us to build more accurate human tissue models, and these human tissue models are required for drug development and toxicity testing in vitro. Because most drug development is directed at human disease, the use of human tissue makes sense.”

In the long term, this new method of printing may lay the foundation for the integration of hESCs into artificially constructed organs and tissues that are ready to be transplanted into patients with different diseases.

3. Biofabrication: Handheld 3D “printing pen” can efficiently print human stem cells


Recently, in a research report published in the international magazine Biofabrication, researchers from Australia successfully used a hand-held 3D printing pen to successfully map human stem cells with high survival rate in free mode. The new device developed by the researchers can help surgeons perform personalized cartilage transplants during surgery.

The researchers pointed out that the use of hydrogel-type “bio-ink” to carry and support human stem cell growth, and the use of a lower light source to coagulate “bio-ink”, the survival rate of stem cells transported by the pen will exceed 97%. This new type of 3D printing pen also greatly helps tissue engineering research, for example, it can print out cells layer by layer to build artificial tissue for transplantation.

However, in some cases, such as during cartilage repair, the precise geometric properties of the implant may not be accurately applied to the surgical procedure, which makes the preparation of the artificial cartilage tissue graft become complex and difficult; the new print pen acts like a surgeon’s hand and can accurately fill a custom-made stent or graft into a missing part of the patient’s body. Researcher Professor Choong said that the development of this new type of device is the result of a joint effort between scientists and clinicians, and will bring unprecedented changes to improved research and patient care.

To be continued in Part Two…