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David Fluri  (Source: daylife.com)
The new suspension method allows stem cells to be collected in larger numbers instead of being scraped off of a surface

Researchers from the University of Toronto's Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) have created a new method for growing stem cells in larger quantities.

David Fluri, a postdoctoral researcher at IBBME, and Peter Zandstra, a professor at IBBME, have developed a new suspension method for growing stem cells, which allows for the collection of greater numbers of stem cells and increases the chance of obtaining viable cells in a cost-effective way.

Traditionally, stem cells are grown on surfaces that need to be scraped and are then differentiated from other kinds of cells to avoid cell death. However, this method doesn't produce enough viable stem cells from each culture, and the high cost to use this method doesn't match the results.

But now, Fluri and Zandstra have combined the stem cell creation process with a bioreactor, which provides stable environments for such processes. The cells were also grown in suspension, making the process more stable and safer for more viable cells.

By doing this, mouse cells were reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells, which can become any kind of cell. They were then changed into cardiac cells.

Fluri and Zandstra hope that this new technique can be used to eventually treat heart disease. It is designed to work with large scale processes and provide the quantity needed for successful stem cell research and drug development.

"This is an enabling technology," said Zandstra. "It takes something we showed we could do before at low efficiency but not at such numbers that could be used in manufacturing."

Source: Eurekalert





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