Based on a hydrogel technology which can release desired nutrients and absorb or scavenge components from the cell culture in a pH dependent manner.

About

Background

In vitro cell culturing is a common scientific technique used extensively worldwide. Successful cell culturing involves, in part, properly preparing and continually monitoring for proper temperature, pH, gas and nutrient content. Providing this optimal nutrient composition consistently becomes challenging during the weekends or holidays from the lab worker. The currently available delivery methods  generally involves the use of polymers bearing alkaline amine functionalities, which can give rise to significant swelling and rapid release as the pH transitions from neutral to acidic conditions.  The major problems identified with such responsive drug delivery systems include slow response time, lack of mechanical strength, biocompatibility and biodegradability.

Technology

Researchers at UMass Lowell have developed an automated, real-time, non-invasive cell-feeding device based on hydrogel technology which can release desired nutrients and absorb or scavenge components from the cell culture in a pH dependent manner. These synthetic polymer-based hydrogels are useful materials for biological applications because of their high water content and biocompatibility. The pH-sensitive hydrogel display significant swelling in water at low pH but (much) less swelling in water at high pH. This is achieved through the incorporation of amine gropus into the network with variable degree of alkalinity  in combination with other prepolymers and crosslinkers that allow for variations in the overall hydrophilicity and crosslink density of the network, thus modulating swelling, mechanical properties and release capacity under various conditions. It is possible to immobilize pH-sensitive dyes within these materials, resulting in hydrogels that change color with pH to alert the user of changes in media conditions or the depletion of the hydrogel’s capacity to regulate pH.

Advantages


Eco-friendly
No harsh solvent need
Biocompatible
Biodegradable 
Cost
No agent needed
Faster production
Material Properties
Maximizes number of pH-responsive groups
Amenable to wider range of reagents
Tolerant of water


 

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