researchers culture cells in flat dishes, two-dimensional culture
systems. A disadvantage is that the cells behave differently than they
would in a living organism. To offer an environment that resembles the
living organism better, Dr. Birgitte Angres and Dr. Helmut Wurst have
developed synthetic transparent hydrogels for three-dimensional
applications within their life science company Cellendes
to other hydrogels on the market ours can be much easier modified with
bioactive factors such as peptides right at the bench. So customers can
choose which peptides they want to include in their culture. They can
either purchase them from us or have their own being synthesized.
Secondly, the concentration of bioactive factors, such as peptides, in
our gels can be much higher than in the competitors’ gels,” Dr. Helmut
hydrogels are made in a few minutes by combining two solutions in the
form of an activated polymer and a cross-linking agent. Through a
chemical reaction the polymers use the agent to link themselves together
and a three-dimensional network, where the average pore is about eight
nanometers wide, forms. Before the linking occurs it is possible to bind
biofactors to the polymer and mix in cells.
biggest challenge, from a technical point of view, during the
development of the hydrogels has been to make these components
reproducible. “You can do it once and then the next time maybe a little
bit different, but you want to make a reproducible quality of your
different components and I think that is the biggest problem,” Wurst
the moment Wurst and his colleagues are trying to make it possible to
store and ship the gels at room temperature and not in refrigerated
conditions, to save costs in shipping. They also want to make the gels
form a little bit slower. “The gels form so fast that it is sometimes
difficult to mix the two different solutions completely,” Wurst said.
all of Cellendes’ customers are doing basic research within the field
of the life sciences. However, their hydrogels could also be useful in
the chemical industry and within drug and cosmetic development. “Efforts
are made to reduce the number of experimental animal testings. In our
system the cells are cultured in a more natural environment and could
replace certain animal models,” Wurst said.
the European Commission-funded project ProNano -Promoting Technology
Transfer of Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production
Technologies, Cellendes researchers have been selected to receive
coaching to make their results in nanotechnologies reach the market.