Review Article | Published:

Materials for stem cell factories of the future

Nature Materials volume 13, pages 570579 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

Polymeric substrates are being identified that could permit translation of human pluripotent stem cells from laboratory-based research to industrial-scale biomedicine. Well-defined materials are required to allow cell banking and to provide the raw material for reproducible differentiation into lineages for large-scale drug-screening programs and clinical use. Yet more than 1 billion cells for each patient are needed to replace losses during heart attack, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. Producing this number of cells is challenging, and a rethink of the current predominant cell-derived substrates is needed to provide technology that can be scaled to meet the needs of millions of patients a year. In this Review, we consider the role of materials discovery, an emerging area of materials chemistry that is in large part driven by the challenges posed by biologists to materials scientists.

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Acknowledgements

C.D. is supported by EPSRC, British Heart Foundation, Heart Research UK and National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). M.R.A. gratefully acknowledges EPSRC (grant number EP/H045384/1) and the Wellcome Trust for funding, and The Royal Society for the provision of his Wolfson Research Merit Award.

Author information

Author notes

    • Adam D. Celiz

    Present address: Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

Affiliations

  1. Laboratory of Biophysics and Surface Analysis, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

    • Adam D. Celiz
    • , Martyn C. Davies
    •  & Morgan R. Alexander
  2. Wolfson Centre for Stem Cells, Tissue Engineering and Modelling, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

    • James G. W. Smith
    • , Lorraine E. Young
    •  & Chris Denning
  3. David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

    • Robert Langer
    •  & Daniel G. Anderson
  4. CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, Bag 10, Clayton South MDC 3169, Australia

    • David A. Winkler
  5. Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 399 Royal Parade, Parkville 3052, Australia

    • David A. Winkler
  6. School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK

    • David A. Barrett

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Chris Denning or Morgan R. Alexander.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3972

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