Unique 3D-printed system for large-scale stem cell production
Researchers have developed a unique 3D-printed system for harvesting stem cells from bioreactors, offering the potential for large-scale, high-quality stem cell production in Australia at lower cost.
Stem cells hold great promise in the treatment of many diseases and injuries, from arthritis and diabetes to cancer, due to their ability to replace damaged cells. However, the current technology used to harvest stem cells is laborious, time-consuming and expensive.
Biomedical engineer Professor Majid Warkiani of the University of Technology Sydney led the translational research, working with industry partner Regeneus – an Australian biotech company developing stem cell therapies to treat inflammatory conditions and pain.
Our cutting-edge technology, which uses 3D printing and microfluidics to integrate a number of production steps into a single device, can help make stem cell therapies more widely available to patients at lower cost. »
Professor Majid Warkiani, Sydney University of Technology
“Although this system, a world first, is currently in the prototype stage, we are working closely with biotechnology companies to commercialize the technology. It is important to note that this is a closed system without human intervention, which is necessary for current good manufacturing practices,” he said. .
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 equipment, and thus the rapid prototyping and construction of integrated systems.
The new system was developed to treat 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 extracted from human bone marrow, fatty tissue or blood. They are then transferred to a bioreactor in the laboratory 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 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 Bioprocesses.
Professor Warkiani said other industrial bioprocessing challenges can also be solved using the same technology and workflow, helping to reduce costs and increase the quality of a range of vital products, including stem cells and CAR-T cells.
University of Technology, Sydney
Ding, L. et al. (2022) A modular 3D-printed microfluidic system: a potential solution for continuous cell harvesting in large-scale bioprocessing. Bioresources and Bioprocesses. doi.org/10.1186/s40643-022-00550-2.