Scientists Develop Stem Cells Using 3D Gel
Stem cells have helped scientists find treat several diseases over the recent past. The major issue, however, is the cultivation of a large number of such cells within a limited surface area.
To overcome this issue, researchers at the Standford University have developed a gel that helped grow the natural stem cells in large volumes, occupying less space.
“We just don’t know how to efficiently and effectively grow massive numbers of stem cells and keep them in their regenerative state. This has prevented us from making more progress in creating therapies until now” said Sarah Heilshorn, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University.
Sarah and her colleagues made use of a polymer-based gel, which enables juvenile cells to grow in 3D stacks. This helped tackle the challenge of growing and preserving stem cells along with being able to mature them into varied cell types.
The gel assists the stem cells in remodeling their environment and enabling them to continue staying in contact with each other. This helps in preserving their “stemness” in 3D. Conventionally 16 square feet space is required for cultivating stem cells in the 2D approach, which by the novel 3D technique is decreased to a minimum of 16 square inches. Additionally, less energy and fewer nutrients are required by the 3D culture, which grows an entire stack of cells at the height of 0.03 inches.
Such a technique has the potential of enabling doctors to cultivate large batches of stem cells without the necessity of dedicating a significant room to the process.
This could also be a breakthrough, widening the possibilities of repairing spinal cord injuries and curing brain diseases such as Parkinson’s.
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