This week in cell therapy news: From stem cell renewal to differentiation in one step; Meet Akron at ISCT

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This week, we highlight a new study that has the potential to significantly simplify stem cell manufacturing for therapy, and the upcoming ISCT conference which Akron will take part in.

Stem Cells: From expansion to differentiation in a single step

The production of stem cells for use in cell therapy is a two stage process: Cells are first expanded in culture, and then differentiated into functional cells or tissues. Traditionally, each of these steps requires a separate microenvironments and has been, as a result, done in separate media conditions. This has also been one of the major bottlenecks in the large scale production of cells for therapy due to need forof separate microenvironments for both processes. This may, however, change if a new study is to go by. A team of researchers at The University of Nottingham School of Pharmacy has created a novel biomaterial with a dual role: to allow for both the self-renewal of stem cells and their differentiation into cardiomyocytes from the same material.

The breakthrough scaffold biomaterial is based on a mixture of collagen and alginate: the alginate-rich part allows for the proliferation of cells. By then chelating calcium ions when the cells have expanded sufficiently, the environment becomes collagen-rich. This change triggers the cells to begin differentiating into tissue. The authors triggered induced pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into cardiomyocytes (heart cells). By modifying the medium, it will be possible to alter the efficiency of differentiation.

The study is of note because it introduces a brand new biomaterial concept that has the potential to truly simplify the way stem cells are obtained for therapy. The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Akron to attend ISCT

Here is an opportunity to meet Akron, interact with us and learn about our new products: Akron will attend the 20th International Society for Cell Therapy Annual Meeting to be held in Paris April 23rd to April 26th, 2014. Together with presenting some of our recent research, Akron will host a booth where we will feature all of our products and highlight some new additions to our cell therapy and research lineup. Make sure to look for us and stop by to chat (we may have chocolates). More details to come in the coming weeks. If you would like to schedule an appointment in advance, contact us here.

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