Advances and challenges in stem cell culture



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Stem cells (SCs) hold great promise for cell therapy, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnological applications. They have the capacity to self-renew and the ability to differentiate into specialized cell types depending upon their source of isolation. However, use of SCs for clinical applications requires a high quality and quantity of cells. This necessitates large-scale expansion of SCs followed by efficient and homogeneous differentiation into functional derivatives. Traditional methods for maintenance and expansion of cells rely on two-dimensional (2-D) culturing techniques using plastic culture plates and xenogenic media. These methods provide limited expansion and cells tend to lose clonal and differentiation capacity upon long-term passaging. Recently, new approaches for the expansion of SCs have emphasized three-dimensional (3-D) cell growth to mimic the in vivo environment. This review provides a comprehensive compendium of recent advancements in culturing SCs using 2-D and 3-D techniques involving spheroids, biomaterials, and bioreactors. In addition, potential challenges to achieve billion-fold expansion of cells are discussed.



3-D culture, Self-renewal, Biomimicking, Large-scale expansion, Self-assembling scaffold, Hydrogel, Bioreactor


Mckee, C., & Chaudhry, G. (2017). Advances and challenges in stem cell culture. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 159, 62–77.