A new hydrogel material may revolutionize the process of large scale stem cell production. Kevin Shakesheff’s group and colleagues from the University of Nottingham, UK have created a sophisticated microenvironment for stem cells that enables them to undergo both proliferation and differentiation in the same material. These findings, published online on March 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are based on an elegant chemical switch, ionic de-cross-linkage, that shifts the alginate-rich environment needed for stem cell self-renewal to a collagen-rich environment needed for differentiation. This technology holds promise for large scale manufacturing of human pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic purposes in regenerative medicine. Click here to read more about this exciting new development.
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