Programmed stem cells promise to tackle every kind of illnesses, but there is one catch: creating them. It’s hard to cultivate giant numbers of them, and also the need to grow them on 2D surfaces is not very practical. that is where researchers might come to the rescue: they’ve developed a technique of growing neural stem cells in large volumes, but without chewing up a too much valuable property. The trick is to use polymer-based gels that allow these juvenile cells to grow in 3D stacks.
The gels facilitate the stem cells remodel their environment and keep in touch with each other, that is key to preserving “stemness” — that’s, the ready-to-program state — within the 3rd third dimension. The result’s a culture that takes up just sixteen sq. inches of space versus the sixteen sq. feet needed for a conventional 2d approach. It uses fewer nutrients and less energy, too, and the entire stack is a mere 0.03in tall. A doctor could cultivate giant batches of stem cells without having to dedicate significant chunks of a room to the method.
This technique does not apply to other stem cell types, as their stemness is determined by more by the stiffness of the gels. However, this might be a breakthrough. currently, that giant neural stem cell quantities are viable, scientists are raising the chance of repairing spinal cord injuries or curing brain diseases like parkinsons. The challenge is injecting these stem cells directly into the body. If that happens, though, apparently permanent conditions could be entirely treatable.