COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University researchers have invented a device that grows human tumor cells in an artificial medium in order to produce a protein for possible cancer treatment.
The device, called a fibrous-bed bioreactor (FBB), is capable of growing cells for a variety of applications including fermentation, animal cell culture, tissue engineering, and waste water treatment. Researchers have shown that the FBB is able to produce large quantities of a protein -- Developmental Endothelial Locus-1 Protein, or Del-1 -- for cancer research.
Shang-Tian Yang, professor of chemical engineering, designed the bioreactor as a three-dimensional alternative to the flat dishes that scientists normally use to culture cells. Yang and two of his graduate students, Chunnuan Chen and Yu Liang Huang, presented the results of this work August 26 at the 216th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston.
The FBB contains a forest of microscopic polyester fibers
that anchor living cells in place. As the cells grow and reproduce, they wrap around the fibers as they would strands of protein in the body.
Other fibrous bioreactors exist, but Yang explained that the FBB possesses unique characteristics that overcome the disadvantages associated with them. For instance, if the fibrous material is too dense, it can strangle the cells. For that reason, the Ohio State researchers pack the Dacron fibers loosely inside the container to leave room for gas to circulate in interior channels. A flood of nutrients washes through the fibers to provide nourishment to the cells, while at the same time whisking away dead cells so they dont clog the channels.
The porous fabric provides a very high surface area
for the cells to anchor on in three-dimensional space,
said Yang. But the major difference
Contact: Shang-Tian Yang
Ohio State University