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News Link • Drugs and Medications

Researchers discover unique suspension technique for large-scale stem cell production

•, University of Toronto

Although are widely used for the testing of , researchers have always faced difficulties manufacturing enough viable cells from a culture. Typically, stem cells are grown on surfaces that must be scraped, and which must then be differentiated from other types of cells to prevent the death of those all-important cells. This has proven to be an inefficient way to harvest stem cells, since the process doesn't produce stem cells in high enough numbers that they can be cost-effectively used by researchers.

Wanting to overcome this challenge, Fluri decided to pair the stem cell creation process, known as reprogramming, with the use of a bioreactor—an apparatus that creates stable environmental conditions. Through this process Fluri was able to "reprogram" mouse cells to become "pluripotent" stem cells—cells that can become any kind of cell—and then into cardiac cells.

But it was the way these cells were successfully grown that has researchers excited. 
By introducing the cultures to this particular process, the stem cells were grown in suspension, eliminating the problems inherent in growing the cells on surfaces—something that has never before been accomplished.

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