Scaffolds or matrices based on extracellular matrix (ECM)-inspired biomaterials play a central role in the repair of tissue damage. Cell matrices can optimise the physiologically relevant 3D microenvironment of the cells and prevent graft cell death.
Autologous or allogeneic cell therapies have the potential to treat a broad range of unmet medical needs. For the commercialisation of cell therapy products, it is important to develop scalable, safe, and efficient manufacturing processes for the production of the required cell numbers. Microcarriers are commonly used in large-scale cell production and provide an attractive tool to expand cells in a 3D microenvironment as they provide a higher cell culture surface area and a closer mimic to the in vivo situation in comparison with classical 2D cell culturing methods. Especially anchorage dependent cells need such a physiologically relevant 3D microenvironment for optimal cell viability, morphology, and proliferation.
Cell harvesting is considered one of the main obstacles of using microcarriers. Dissociation of cells from the carrier is difficult due to the (high) cell attachment. Cell harvesting adds complexity and expenses to the cell production and it lowers the cell yield and may harm cell quality. With Fujifilm’s new injectable microcarrier cell harvesting can be avoided. The cell-loaded microcarriers have the unique advantage of being at the same time a cell delivery system to damaged or degenerated tissue. Injection of cells together with the biomaterial enhances cell survival, as the cells are already adhered to an ECM-like biomaterial while entering the hostile environment. Injection of cells without microcarrier often leads to poor cell survival as cells do not immediately attach to the ECM.