By Christiane Schlottbom
Great hopes and expectations are linked to stem cells as a tool for drug discovery and to stem cell-derived products in therapeutic applications. Though several products have made it to commercial stage, most of the research is still performed in small scales using simple cultivation systems such as spinner flasks or T-flasks.
Drug approval procedures however require a detailed knowledge of the process, reproducible results and a comprehensive documentation. At this point, the mentioned cultivation systems quickly reach their limits. To achieve production level yields these simple systems have limited economies of scale.
Controlled bioreactors, widely established in traditional cell culture applications, can be the key to establish and optimize reproducible cultivation processes. Adapted to the special requirements of sensitive stem cells they provide a powerful tool for scale-up.