Scalable and physiologically relevant microenvironments for human pluripotent stem cell expansion and differentiation

Conference Dates

June 5-9, 2018


Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), are attractive cell sources for various biomedical applications including cell therapies, tissue biofabrication, drug screening and toxicity tests. These applications require large numbers of high quality cells.

However, the scalable and cost-effective culturing of high quality hPSCs and their derivatives, especially for clinical applications, remains a challenge. In vivo, majority of human cells including the hESCs reside in 3D microenvironments that have plenty of cell-cell and cell-ECM (extracellular matrix) interactions, sufficient supply of nutrients, oxygen and growth factors, and no or minimal hydrodynamic stresses. The current hPSC culturing methods, however, provide culturing conditions that are very different from these physiological microenvironments, leading to low culture efficiency and difficulty to culture cells at large scales. For instance, we and others showed hPSCs typically expanded 4-fold in 4 days to yield around 2.0x10^6 cells/mL with current 3D suspension culturing. These cells occupy ~0.4% of the bioreactor volume. To our best knowledge, the largest 3D suspension culture volume demonstrated to date for hPSCs is less than 10 liters.

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