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Researchers develop unique 3D printed system for harvesting stem cells from bioreactors

New solution for stem cell production

Modular 3D printed microfluidic system. Credit: Majid Warkiani et al. Bioresources and Bioprinting 2022.

Researchers have developed a unique 3D-printed system for harvesting stem cells from bioreactors, offering the potential for high-quality, large-scale production of stem cells in Australia at a lower cost.

Stem cells hold promise in the treatment of many diseases and injuries, from arthritis and diabetes to cancer, because of their ability to replace damaged cells. However, current technology used to harvest stem cells is laborious, time consuming and expensive.

Biomedical engineer Professor Majid Warkiani from the University of Technology Sydney led the translational research, in collaboration with industry partner Regeneus, an Australian biotechnology company developing stem cell therapies to treat inflammatory conditions and pain.

“Our advanced technology, which uses 3D printing and microfluidics to integrate a number of manufacturing steps in one device, could help make stem cell therapies more widely available to patients at a lower cost,” said Professor Warkiani.

“While this system is the first in the world currently in the prototype phase, we are working closely with biotechnology companies to commercialize the technology. Importantly, it is a closed system without human intervention, which is necessary for current good manufacturing practices,” said he. †

Microfluidics is the precise control of fluid at microscopic levels, which can be used to manipulate cells and particles. Advances in 3D printing have enabled the direct construction of microfluidic devices, and thus rapid prototyping and building integrated systems.

The new system was developed to process mesenchymal stem cells, a type of adult stem cell that can divide and differentiate into multiple tissue cells, including bone, cartilage, muscle, fat and connective tissue.

Mesenchymal stem cells are initially obtained from human bone marrow, adipose tissue or blood. They are then transferred to a bioreactor in the lab and combined with microcarriers to allow the cells to proliferate.

The new system combines four micromixers, a spiral microfluidic separator and a microfluidic concentrator to detach and separate the mesenchymal stem cells from microcarriers and concentrate them for downstream processing.

The study “A modular 3D-printed microfluidic system: a potential solution for continuous cell harvesting in large-scale bioprocessing” was recently published in the journal Bioresources and bioprocessing

Professor Warkiani said other industrial challenges in bioprocessing could also be addressed with the same technology and workflow, helping to reduce costs and improve quality of a range of life-saving products, including stem cells and CAR-T cells.

Direct reprogramming of oral epithelial cells into mesenchymal-like cells

More information:
Lin Ding et al, A modular 3D-printed microfluidic system: a potential solution for continuous cell harvesting in large-scale bioprocessing, Bioresources and bioprocessing (2022). DOI: 10.1186/s40643-022-00550-2

Provided by University of Technology, Sydney

Quote: Researchers develop unique 3D-printed system for harvesting stem cells from bioreactors (2022, June 16) Retrieved June 16, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-unique-3d-harvesting-stem-cells .html

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