Once Again, the Environment Matters: Why in cell culture, flat is out

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Last week we wrote about the importance of a 3D environment in cell culture and how scaffolds – matrices where cells are grown – are key to providing an optimal environment for cells to differentiate and expand, by offering a much needed in vivo-like architecture. Further testament to the importance and potential of 3D scaffolds can be found in the increasing number of research focused on characterizing such systems. 3D scaffolds are constructed from a number of polymeric materials such as polystyrene and polylactic acid. Collagen is often added as a model of the in vivo tissue.

A key recent example comes from the lab of Qin Liu at the Clem Jones Research Centre For Stem Cells & Tissue Regenerative Therapies (Acta Biomaterialia, 2013), who developed ultrathin 3D nanofibrous membranes made from Collagen type I and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) that mimic the fibrillar architecture of the native inner layer of human bone marrow. They ultimately proved that transplanted retinal pigment epithelium cells managed to fully maintain their biofunctionality when grown on such nanomembranes. This is just one in a series of remarkable recent examples that demonstrate and further drive home the point that the environment in which cells are grown matters just as much as the way they are cultured.

If any of the above resonates and you happen to be in Florida and – more to the point – are attending next week’s Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) in Fort Lauderdale from  August 12-15, look for the session on regenerative medicine  it will discuss exciting new research into biomaterials and 3D scaffold development.

Our 3-dimensional electrospun fiber multiwell plates, which we introduced last week, have been met with remarkable feedback. Why not add your story? Contact us and share your experience with our Polyfibers – we will be more than happy to share your application with our readership and customers.

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