High-throughput hydrogel-based 2D platform for culturing cells in realistic tissue stiffness environments
Substrate system capable of reproducing the physical environment of various tissues
The physical environment surrounding a living cell influences its ability to proliferate, metabolize, differentiate and survive. In particular, the stiffness of the underlying matrix greatly affects cell fate and behavior. For example, cultured stem cells undergo neurogenic differentiation on soft substrates (which mimic soft brain tissue), whereas on hard substrates (which mimic bone) they differentiate into bone-like cells. It is becoming increasingly clear that hydrogel substrates that mimic tissue stiffness can recapitulate key aspects of cell behavior not seen in traditional rigid tissue culture plates. Recently, a number of synthetic matrices such as PuraMatrix, AlgiMatrix and Glycosan have become commercially available. However, these products are either very costly, difficult to use, or incompatible with many cell-based high-throughput assays. An inexpensive and easy-to-use system capable of reproducing the physical environment of various tissues is in great demand for use in high-throughput cell culture, drug screening and toxicity assays.
Innovations and Advantages
This invention is an economical and easy-to-use substrate system that reproduces the stiffness of the cell's in vivo microenvironment. Matrices of various elastic properties that mimic the stiffness of different tissues in the body are available. Importantly, the technique and materials can be applied in standard multi-well plate configurations, allowing for high-throughput applications in cell culture, stem cell therapy, and drug discovery.
Intellectual Property Status: Patent pending. A patent pending cell-stretching device is also available for licensing (please refer to case number HU 2983.)
Mih, Justin D.
Tschumperlin, Daniel J.
For further information, please contact:
Debra Peattie, Director of Business Development
Reference Harvard Case #3175