Researchers have discovered the first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells, an advance that may allow for mass production of human embryonic stem cells.
Scientists at The University of Nottingham have been searching for polymers on which human pluripotent stem cells can be grown and differentiated in vast numbers – billions at a time.
“The possibilities for regenerative medicine are still being researched in the form of clinical trials. What we are doing here is paving the way for the manufacture of stem cells in large numbers when those therapies are proved to be safe and effective,” said Morgan Alexander, Professor of Biomedical Surfaces in the School of Pharmacy.
Using a high throughput materials discovery approach the research team has found the newly discovered man-made material, free from possible contamination.
“The field of regenerative medicine has snowballed in the last five years and over the coming five years a lot more patients will be receiving stem cell treatments,” said Chris Denning, Professor of Stem Cell Biology in the School of Medicine.
“Clinical trials are still in the very early stages. However, with this kind of product, if we can get
it commercialised and validated by the regulators it could be helping patients in two to three
years,” Denning said.
Conditions of the heart, liver and brain are all under investigation as possible new stem cell treatments. People are already receiving stem cells derived eye cells for eye disorders.