Human Pluripotent Stem Cells: the use of polymers for 3D Cell Culture
|hPSC as 2D colonies: cytoplasmic staining with alpha tubulin, nuclear staining with hoechst|
pluripotent stem cells, 3D tissue culture, thermoresponsive polymer, extracellular matrix, directed differentiation
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) possess the unique ability to form all cell types. There are two categories of hPSC: human embryonic stem cells (hESC; derived from embryos) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC; created through forced reprogramming of somatic cells). The promise of pluripotent stem cells as an instrument to study early embryonic development, for drug discovery and toxicology testing, or as a treatment for degenerative diseases has caused much anticipation over the last 15 years. While FDA approval has been given for clinical testing of hPSC (macular degenerative diseases and type-1 diabetes) key issues remain - including the development of xeno-free cultures and the discontinuation of current passaging methods (enzymatic and non-enzymatic).
The Pluripotent Stem Cell Group are currently developing robust techniques for the large scale culture of hPSC as three dimensional aggregates, maintaining their pluripotent status, and without the need for enzymatic/non-enzymatic passaging. Using a thermoresponsive polymer conjugated to an extracellular matrix protein, aggregates can be formed and dissociated in response to regulation of temperature. In addition, we are investigating methods to differentiate and maintain progenitor cells (cardiac and neuronal), derived from hPSC, in a 3D platform. Proteomic approaches are also being used to gain insight into the growth and development of the cells, as well as their interactions with their environment, thus enabling the development of a culture platform, capable of large scale production of quality hPSCs suitable for drug screening, study of diseases and regenerative therapies.
|Lead investigator||Dr Linda Harkness|
|Research group||Gray Group|