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New nonwoven microcarriers for cell culture

Accelerating the growth of cells in regenerative medicine.

28th June 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Japan


Drawing on the fibre-related bio-medical expertise of Professor Satoshi Fujita at the University of Fukui in Japan, Teijin Frontier has developed new nonwoven microcarriers for rapid, large-scale and high-quality cell culture operations.

The scaffolding materials are suitable for a wide range of cell types and thanks to their special structure –physically similar to the space in which cells proliferate in vivo – enable cells to grow along their fibres in three dimensions. They also facilitate circulation of the culture medium and oxygen necessary for cell growth and can be used to culture mesenchymal stem cell.

Mesenchymal stem cell is a diverse cell with self-renewal and differentiation abilities and the new carriers are therefore expected to be used in regenerative medicines as they can effectively differentiate between human functions such as nerves, muscles and bones.

Cell culture technology is playing a major role in regenerative medicine. Traditional cell culture generally uses two-dimensional planar technology such as culture dishes and T-flasks, but the cell adhesion area is small, hundreds of dishes are required to culture a few grams of tissue and extensive equipment, personnel and man-hours are required.

Using cell culture bioreactors which are capable of culturing a large number of cells can improve efficiency. Microcarriers are used as scaffolding materials for bioreactors that perform biochemical reactions with their mixing capabilities, to control cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. Conventional microcarriers are generally shaped like beads, but with the the diversification of cell lines and culture methods, new types of microcarriers that enable higher-volume, higher-quality cultures are arising.

The new Teijin nonwoven microcarriers can be used in cell culture methods that employ fixed bed or agitation bioreactors and are particularly effective when the bioreactor has no agitating blades. Combining shaking of the culture with mild shear force allows the new microcarriers to collect a sufficient number of cells over a week,  without changing the culture medium.

Another advantage of the new nonwoven microcarriers are their high porous structures and large surface areas, allowing more cells to be cultured than with conventional scaffolding materials. Teijin Frontier’s research has demonstrated that it is possible to increase the number of cells by 30% in a culture period of four days, compared to conventional bead-type microcarriers.

The company will now start shipping samples of the new nonwoven microcarriers to research institutes, universities, pharmaceutical manufacturers and cosmetics manufacturers.

In 2024, the company plans to expand marketing worldwide, aiming for global sales of Yen 100 million in fiscal 2026.


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