Improving expansion of mesenchymal stem cells


Project Leader: Daniel Heath
Staff: Daniel Heath, Andrea O'Connor
Student: Aida Shakouri, Gina Kusuma
Collaborators: Bill Kalionis (Royal Women's Hospital), Shaun Brennecke (Royal Women's Hospital)
Primary Contact: Daniel Heath (daniel.heath@unimelb.edu.au)
Keywords: biomaterials
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering,Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences
Research Centre: Particulate Fluids Processing Centre (PFPC)

Mesenchymal stem cells are being explored as treatments for a variety of disease states.  However, the cells are present at low frequencies in patient samples. In order to produce the large number of cells needed for therapies, the cells must be expanded for prolonged times outside the body. However, this expansion phase results in loss of many of the desired stem cell properties. By the time sufficient cell numbers are reached, a large portion of the cells are filler cells that no longer possess the necessary stem cell characteristics.

This project aims to develop biologically inspired substrates that enable the large scale and prolonged expansion of mesenchymal stem cells without the loss of their stem cell properties.