Growing neural stem cells is a complicated process that has the potential to result in the unintended production of cancer cells. In large part this is due to the addition of growth factors to the culture mix, which can result in indiscriminate cellular multiplication.
Now researchers from the Hong Kong Baptist University have developed a way of growing neural stem cells without the use of growth factors, relying instead on nano-scale materials to stimulate the process.
“Traditional methods for proliferation and differentiation of NSCs require a large number of additional growth factors in a culture medium, which are kinds of polypeptides and can regulate many aspects of cellular function that may stimulate the growth of cancer cells and increase the risk of developing tumours in vivo after transplantation,” said Ken Yung Kin-lam, one of the scientists responsible for the research.
The new method uses a special nano-matrix that provides a sort of massage to the neural stem cells placed on it. This physical interaction between the biocompatible material and the cells leads to an acceleration of cellular growth.
Here’s a Hong Kong Baptist University video explaining the research: