H2020 Autostem: Development of a fully automated platform for the manufacture of adults stem cells for cell therapies

Abstract: Stem cells are emerging as a treatment for several diseases including diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s. However, current manufacturing methods are time consuming, expensive and unable to satisfy the increased patient demand. Upscaling the stem cell expansion process in a cost-effective manner is therefore the key for future affordable therapies.
The EU-Horizon2020 AUTOSTEM project addresses this issue, focusing on the design and production of a fully closed, fully automated, sterile platform that enables the cost-effective production of mesenchymal stem cells at therapeutically relevant numbers, making use of microcarrier and bioreactor technologies.
This study aimed at upscaling human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSCs) culture to the 1L bioreactor scale. For this, bone marrow derived MSCs from different donors were cultured for 6-12 days in 100mL spinner flasks and 3L single use Mobius bioreactors. Cell counts, imaging and metabolite data at different stages were obtained in order to assess cell growth, and the quality of produced cells was also assessed post-harvesting. The hMSCs were successfully expanded to a 3-fold increase after 6 days of culture in the bioreactor in a serum-based medium. Additionally, the cells maintained their differentiation potential and CFU-f efficiency post-processing. The proof of concept, i.e. the translation of stem cell culture to the 1L scale was achieved, however, optimization of the culture parameters is necessary in order to achieve cell numbers suitable for cell therapies.

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