23 Jan 2007   |   News

UK company gets government grant to develop robotic stem cell system

The UK government has given £1.1 million to Plasticell Ltd to fund the development of a system to automate stem cell research.

The UK government has given £1.1 million to Plasticell Ltd to fund the development of a system to automate stem cell research.

Plasticell will work with a consortium including University College London (UCL) and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control to develop the robotic system, which will enable researchers to test the effects of thousands of different factors and combinations of factors (such as growth, nutrients, hormones, or physical conditions) on how stem cells differentiate, to give rise to lung, heart, brain and other types of cells

Plasticell has christened the technology Combinatorial Cell Culture. Yen Choo, CEO, said, "At the moment, experiments are done on a trial and error basis and since cell culture work is cumbersome, a scientist can only handle a few experiments at any one time.”

“With our technology a scientist could carry out 250,000 experiments in parallel in a couple of weeks"

The project will involve taking industry-standard robotic equipment and housing it in sterile enclosures where tissue culture can take place. This will increase productivity by enabling experiments to run 24/7 in a contaminant-free environment. Plasticell will license the technique to the wider research community

The process automation comes from UCL’s stem cell bioprocessing unit and the advanced imaging methods from NIBSC.


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