The Electrospinning Company and the University of Nottingham have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project to develop thermo-responsive scaffolds for 3D cell culture.
The Electrospinning Company has a range of materials in development for use in 3D cell expansion in bioreactors, for example to increase the efficiency of the manufacture of stem cells for therapeutic use. Speed and cost of production is a major obstacle in the development of cell therapy treatments which could be addressed by proliferating cells on 3D scaffolds due to the high surface area for cell attachment. A major challenge to adoption of this technology is the difficulty of recovering cells from 3D scaffolds, currently achieved with enzymes which is undesirable if cells are to be used for therapy. The University of Nottingham has developed thermo-responsive polymer technology. This has been incorporated into electrospun fibres to create functionalised scaffolds from which cells can be released by changing culture conditions. In this KTP project the research associate will develop the technology towards commercial application, optimising the scaffold and developing methods for scale-up to GMP standards.
The two-year project will be led by Professors Cameron Alexander and Felicity Rose at the University of Nottingham and by Dr Brendan Robb and Dr Rob McKean at The Electrospinning Company.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) http://ktp.innovateuk.org is Europe’s leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness by enabling companies to work with higher education or research and technology organisations to obtain knowledge, technology or skills which they consider to be of strategic competitive importance. The UK-wide programme is overseen by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency and supported by 16 other public sector funding organisations.
The Electrospinning Company designs, develops and manufactures biomaterials for use in regenerative medical devices and for 3D cell culture. Based in clean rooms at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, TECL is at the forefront of clinical innovation, developing products utilising the world-class electrospinning platform. TECL has partnered with the University of Nottingham on this commercially driven project which supports the company’s strategy to become world leader in electrospun biomaterials for regenerative medicine.