In order that people can live longer and lead more active lives there is a need to develop novel affordable and effective treatments for ill health. In some cases, cells that we have within our own bodies can be used to repair damaged tissues or organs. However, in adults, this repair mechanism is very limited and often inefficient so we may need to rely on cells from donors. Unfortunately, since it takes billions of cells to repair, for example the heart muscle of a heart-attack patient, we must isolate cells from donors and expand their numbers before they can be used for treatment. So far we can do this at the laboratory scale, generating for instance, millions of mesenchymal stem cells in a stirred tank over a period of 2 weeks. However, as we consider how this will be achieved on a bigger manufacturing scale, we need to develop tools that will help us monitor and control the process to ensure the cells grown in this way are the same every time - just as we would expect other medicines to be identical from batch to batch. This feasibility project aims to combine the expertise of both biologists and engineers, to create an optical device that can monitor the growth of these cells in this stirred tank environment by giving the operator information about cell number and morphology. If successful, it will help optimise growing conditions so enough cells to treat multiple patients can be manufactured consistently.
|Effective start/end date||1/06/14 → 30/11/15|