Sedgefield, UK. April 2012. Reinnervate Ltd and Roslin Cellab, two leading UK companies in the fields of 3D cell culture and stem cell biology, today announced that they will join forces to develop protocols for the three dimensional growth of human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs).
‘This is a great opportunity for two innovative UK companies to combine their expertise and knowledge to produce exciting new tools for stem cell biologists’ said Richard Rowling – Commercial Director at Reinnervate Ltd. ‘We are delighted that Roslin Cellab has agreed to work with us on this project. They bring a wealth of experience and expert knowledge in the development and delivery of custom tools and protocols in the field of hESC biology. Their professional approach and attention to detail is just what we were looking for’ he added.
Prof Stefan Przyborski, CSO and founder of Reinnervate Ltd added ‘It is well known that the physical environment in which cells grow plays an important role in controlling cell differentiation and the development of functioning tissues. Current two dimensional (2D) models restrict the growth potential of differentiating stem cells. The culture of cells in three dimensions (3D) radically enhances cell growth, differentiation and function. At Reinnervate, we have developed Alvetex® Scaffold which provides a solution for simple and routine 3D cell culture. In this collaboration, we are combining the advantages of 3D cell growth with the enormous potential of hESCs. Preliminary work has already demonstrated enhanced neural development by stem cells using AlvetexScaffold technology. We are now engaged in more extensive investigations to fully exploit 3D cell differentiation by hESCs in collaboration with Roslin Cell Lab’.
Jason King, Director of Business Development at Roslin Cellab said ‘we are seeing great demand for improved 3D culture systems. Stem cell scientists can use these to study the biology of the stem cell “niche”. This is the 3D microenvironment in which stem cells normally reside until they receive signals that cause them to start dividing and to move out into the organ to differentiate into cells of the required type (e.g. heart, brain or liver cells) and repair tissue damage. As a company we have a strong interest in liver cells (hepatocytes) which we can make from our stem cell lines. It is known that when hepatocytes are grown in 3D structures, they have both better metabolic enzyme activity and extended life spans, which are both great advantages when using these cells in cell-based toxicity assays.
As part of the collaboration, Reinnervate will supply its market leading Alvetex Scaffold technology and general expertise in the 3D growth of cells in vitro. Roslin Cellab will supply cells, expertise and protocol development capabilities to the project.
The two companies will also investigate the growth of hESC’s on new Alvetexproduct formats that may offer the ability to improve and simplify embryoid body assay protocols. Embryoid bodies are derived from stem cells and consist of a broad array of differentiated tissues. In many respects they resemble the structures that form in teratoma tumours when stem cells are transplanted into an animal host. An aspect of this collaboration will include using Alvetex technology to support the growth of embryoid body-like structures. This will subsequently be developed into a robust procedure to reduce the need to use animals for producing teratomas as a test of stem cell developmental potential.
Financial terms were not disclosed.