Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are capable of differentiating into any type of somatic cell, a characteristic that imparts significant therapeutic potential. Human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are types of hPSCs. Although hPSCs have high therapeutic potential, their clinical relevance is limited by the requirement for animal feeder layers, which maintain their pluripotency and self-renewal. hPSCs grown on animal feeder cells are at high risk for pathogen contamination and can be affected by the immunogenicity of the feeder layer. The presence of animal feeder cells also limits the scalability of hPSCs in culture because of the high cost of culturing and batch-to-batch variations. Therefore, development of feeder-free systems is imperative for robust, lower-cost, xeno-free, scalable culture of hPSCs. Biomaterials engineered with bioactive molecules such as adhesion proteins and extracellular matrix proteins, or synthetic materials such as peptides and polymers, may provide alternative substrates to animal feeder cells. This article reviews biomaterial-based, feeder-free systems for hPSC growth and maintenance, which provide clinically relevant alternatives to feeder cell systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology