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A Mechanically Reversible Gel for 3-Dimensional Cell Culture and Tissue Engineering

Ref No: B04221
Research Institute : IBN

Technology Overview

Cells proliferating 2-dimensionally on the surface of the culture media are an oversimplification of cell behaviour in in vitro conditions especially for eukaryotic cells. This is because most other eukaryotic cells exist naturally embedded in a 3-D extracellular matrix.


Some technologies have been developed to construct a gel-like culture media that allows 3-D growth of cells. These technologies, however, are mainly based on photocrosslinkable acrylate-based polymers, self-assembled peptides, and matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP) degradable systems. These technologies rely heavily on the use of chemical crosslinkers, photo-initiators, ultraviolet light or a change in ionic strength for cross-linking of gels, conditions which could be detrimental to the cells and proteins in the gel. There is thus the need for a gel which can be reversibly formed by robust and convenient means.

Our Innovation

A novel polymer-silica composite gel has been developed that is suitable for both 3-D cell culture and tissue engineering. It is liquefied by vortexing to allow ligands and cells to be added. The gel resets when it is left to stand. Such reversible thixotropic properties are based on the dynamics of Van der Waals forces and thus do not require chemicals or heat.

Potential Applications

  • 3D cell culture for cell lines, primary cells or stem cells
  • Encapsulation of cells/proteins for storage and transport
  • Tissue culture as in vitro models for cancer research, drug development and cytotoxicity testing or high-content drug screening
  • In vitro tissue engineering and in vivo tissue/organ regeneration
  • Substrate for cell labeling and imaging

Our Value Proposition

  • Simple and convenient encapsulation of cells and proteins, easy harvest of cell
  • Can be functionalized with ligands to confer desired bioactive properties
  • High degree of cell viability and function
  • Consistent gelation time
  • Can be used with labware of different shapes and sizes

Categories : Life Sciences - Others
Intellectual Property : Patent - Granted
Technology Development Status : Concept,POC,Prototype
Tags : Thixotropic nanocomposite gel, 3D cell culture, mechanically reversible, cell encapsulation

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