Specialised Cell Carrier Components

Project Acronym
Project Title
Specialised Cell Carrier Components
Funding Code
Principal Investigator
Schaffer, Christiane
Arndt, Lukas
Funding Organization
Contractor Organization(s)
Funding Program
Silicone offers significant advantages as a 3D cell scaffold, essentially a 3D microtissue device. These benefits
include a capacity for variable porosity, variable open pore volume for cell entrapment, variable density for
fluidisation, variable geometry, friction resistance, and low toxicity. The lead SME partner Cellon SA holds the
IP for porous silicone carriers (Immobasil), which met some of these criteria, but exhibited poor cell adherence
and requires re-engineering and exploitation of current cell biology knowledge and applications. There is a strong
commercial need for such fully functional 3D cell culture technologies (microtissue) that can be manufactured
into robust and reproducible in vitro test systems for toxicity testing, drug testing, cosmetic testing as part of a
projected €1.6b cell based test market.
This technology developed maybe suitable as an active component in bioartificial livers (BAL) and other
bioartificial organ devices. The market growth is driven by needs in drug screening for drug discovery and toxicity
screening. There are also a number of current EU directives that is driving the demand for reliable in vitro 3D cell
based test system to replace in vivo test systems. The bio artificial liver market is also expected to grow rapidly
due to high rates of liver disease worldwide.
The objectives will be to deliver:
1) Immortalised hepatocyte and endothelial cells that retain characteristics of primary liver cells in 3D co-culture.
2) An improved porous silicone carrier for 3D culture of these cells (cell-carrier component)
3) A prototype fluidized bioreactor bed for culture of these cell carrier components.
4) Cell carrier component tested in a microwell plate
The results of this project could form the basis for subsequent (following the completion of the SpeCCC project)
commercial development as follows 1) 3D liver cell multiwell plate assay system, 2) 3D liver microbioreactor
system and 3) a bioreactor component for a BAL device. Minimal SME economic return is predicted at €12m
within 3 years of project completion.