Despite iPSCs having potential in many biomedical applications, there are currently major challenges that need to be addressed to unleash the full potential of iPSCs for disease modelling, both in clinical settings and their use for safety pharmacology to provide more effective and safer regenerative therapy.
What if we could reliably build cell-based structures resembling meat step-by-step in a lab, bypassing the need for livestock altogether? Advances in cellular biology, including identifying the signals that cause stem cells to turn into other cell types such as muscle or fat cells, have given us the key to unlock this possibility, with many companies founded in recent years to develop this technology.
Resident cytokines (released from cells in the body) are potent proteins that function at vanishingly low levels (measured in ng/kg). In contrast, therapeutic recombinant cytokines are typically dosed in mg/kg. Similarly, high mg/L concentrations are required for cytokines used in lab-based cell culture or in biomanufacturing. How do almost non-existent resident cytokines manage to achieve their effects?
Cell-based assays are a cornerstone of research and drug development. However, the beneficial effects of promising drugs can easily be missed amidst the noise of experimental data. This means good drug candidates are often overlooked. Just as concerning, data that would otherwise flag problematic candidates can be missed allowing drug candidates to progress to later stages before eventually failing.
Three-dimensional (3D) culture systems are becoming increasingly popular in both biomedical research and in drug discovery. It is becoming widely accepted that in vitro 3D cell culture technologies have the ability to mimic tissue-like structures and both physiological and disease states more effectively than traditional two-dimensional (2D) monolayer cultures on plastic surfaces.
Despite recent remarkable advances in the treatment of some cancers, pancreatic cancer patients still have one of the worst survival rates. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma’s (PDAC) five-year survival is only 2%-9%. This poor prognosis can largely be attributed to two major factors. Firstly, owing to relatively benign presenting features, the disease is not diagnosed until it has progressed to advanced or metastatic stages in >70% of patients.
Vegetarianism and veganism have become increasingly popular over the last few years, with the number of vegans increasing. In the UK for example, veganism has increased from 150,000 in 2014 to 600,000 in 2019. This is equivalent to about 0.8% of the population. Ten countries have rates of vegetarianism above 10%. The most common reasons people chose to undertake a dietary change relate to both the environmental impact of animal agriculture and, of course, animal welfare. With this in mind, could lab=grown meat provide a more ethical way for people to include meat products in their diet?
Anyone working in stem cell culture is painfully aware of the short half-lives of growth factors. These very expensive little proteins rapidly degrade which means time and money spent replacing them. But the ephemeral nature of growth factors is critical to their functionality
Matrigel and similar products such as Geltrex, have become essential reagents for 3D cell culture. Matrigel contains a mixture of major basement-membrane extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins (e.g. laminin, collagen IV, entactin and the heparin sulphate proteoglycan perlecan). It is also packed with growth factors and many enzymes. As such, it provides an ideal structural and biological environment for culturing cells and is used in a myriad of applications in many formats.
Hydrogels are defined as a 3-dimensional network capable of absorbing water without becoming solvated - a property they share with most soft tissues within the body. This similarity has led to rising levels of research focussed on using hydrogels in the field of tissue engineering and regeneration as analogues for ECM and assisting wound healing, as well as extensive use in contact lens production both for vision corrective as well as therapeutic treatments