Stem cells are all the rage these days, and it’s not just a medical fad. With the ability to differentiate themselves into just about any other type of cell in the human body, they can be used to combat cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and many conditions.
The problem with stem cell research, however, is that stem cells are notoriously difficult to harvest. While there are many locations in the body that they can be harvested from, it is quantity that matters, and quantity is hard to get. It is no surprise then that stem cell bioreactors, machines capable of producing large batches of stem cells, could have a huge impact in the way we fight disease.
Toronto-based non-profit Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine will be collaborating with EMD Millipore to produce a methodology and means of control for the production of stem cells in a bioreactor. The stem cells will need to be pluripotent, meaning they are capable of differentiating themselves into whatever cell type is desired for a treatment. The whole reaction will take place in an already commercially available bioreactor produced by EMD Millipore.
Robert Shaw, the Commercial Director of EMD Millipore’s Stem Cell Initiative, explains.
“As the demand for stem cells used in drug discovery and clinical applications grows, effectively translating the promise of stem cells into therapeutic reality will require large-scale, industrialized production under tightly controlled conditions. At this time, production is typically achieved using stacks of 2D tissue culture vessels, which is an expensive and labor intensive process. This joint project will address those challenges and facilitate optimized, large-scale cultivation of stem cells which can accelerate the progress of therapies into the clinic.”
Work on the project has already commenced, beginning at the University of Toronto’s Banting Institute last month.
Photo: The Guardian