SpeCCC Project. This project will address the limitations with the current 3D cell cultures systems that are preventing their widespread use and the realization of the enormous market potential that exists for fully functional 3D microtissues for cell based assays and for fully functional 3D microtissues that are amenable to scale up and scale down in homogeneous bioreactor systems.
These limitations include:
1. Homogeneous scaleable bioreactor systems have not been developed specifically for 3D microtissue cultures and the systems that are available (e.g. hollowfibre systems) are suboptimal for 3D microtissue culture.
2. Hydrogel carriers are used for 3D microtissues in bioreactors but are not optimal due to issues with inefficient diffusion of nutrients and waste metabolites, and lack of mechanical stability of the carrier.
3. The liver cells currently used for 3D microtissues demonstrate poor retention of key liver specific functions.
SpeCCC will tackle these points and further advance the area of immobilised cell technology for 3D cultures and will contribute to the advancement of stem cell culture, which currently is deficient in suitable carriers that can handle controlled proliferation. It will represent an advance in the area of optimised and designed biomaterials for a variety of application including tissue engineering and stem cell technology. Moreover, SpeCCC has the potential to transform the area and speed the commercialisation of R&D in regeneratative medicine, bioartifical organs, and the commercialisation of 3D cultures for robust testing systems.