There is currently no universal platform or widely accepted technique to efficiently and reproducibly grow stem and progenitor cells (SPCs) in vitro. Stem cells require contact with extracellular matrices as well as signals from growth factors to proliferate and to retain their stemness (preventing their differentiation towards progenitors).
Rutgers researchers Dr. Steven Levison and Dr. Nolan Skop have developed a multi-functional scaffold that supports the expansion of neural stem cells and neural progenitors. This scaffold can be adhered to tissue culture plates (Stemtrix plates), whereupon the stem cells will remain in a multipotent, proliferating state for at least 4 days without refreshing the culture medium. Thus, this biomaterial matrix reduces costs (both for technician time and materials), reduces the risk of contamination, and fully maintains stemness. This platform also reduces the time-consuming and tedious task of feeding the cells on a daily basis (providing worry-free weekends). They have also successfully modified the scaffold to support the expansion of oligodendrocyte progenitors.
This novel biomaterial matrix can also be fashioned into 50 μm microspheres that can be used to deliver cells for regenerative medicine. Drs. Levison and Skop have found that 3-D StemTrix scaffolds seeded with rat neural stem cells are far superior in enhancing precursor survival and integration for tissue repair in a model of focal traumatic brain injury.
- Validated as a 2-D cell culture platform to improve the growth of:
- Rodent neural stem cells (rNSC)
- Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (hiPSC-NSC)
- Rodent oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (rOPC)
- 3-D vehicle to deliver stem cells for regenerative medicine
- Tested in rat model of focal traumatic brain injury
- Serum-free and defined matrix components
- Enhanced homogeneity, stemness and proliferation of cells grown on StemTrix plates comparedto traditional culture methods (eg. Matrigel)
- 5-fold expansion in neural stem cells after a single passage
- Reduced feeding times of cell cultures to once every 4th day
- Lower contamination risk compared to traditional culture methods
- Room temperature storage and shipment
- Shelf-life of a least 10 weeks
- Validated efficacy after γ-irradiation
- Suitable for propagating cells for clinical use
- Validation of platform using clinical grade reagents
- Expansion of platform to other stem cells and precursors
Intellectual Property & Development Status:
Patent pending in US, Europe, Canada, China and Israel. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.