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Biochemical Engineering

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Cell Therapy Bioprocessing

Cell Therapy


Through multidisciplinary collaborations with clinicians and industry, our mission is to provide the research expertise to enable the manufacture of safe, clinically efficacious and cost effective cell therapies for delivery to patients.

The focus of cell therapy bioprocessing activity is to accelerate the safe, clinical efficacious and cost effective translation of cell therapies into commercial products. This activity spans the entire range of cell therapy activities as well as tissue engineering. The distinctive UCL approach involves taking a ‘whole bioprocess’ view from donor or patient biopsy all the way through to clinical implantation into the patient. To date fundamental bioprocess research in collaboration with clinical groups and companies has supported the development and clinical application of various cell therapies. Achievements include preclinical filing for Phase 1 clinical trials for cell therapy in acute spinal cord injury, clinical proof of concept studies in tissue-engineered trachea, clinical trials for tissue-engineered larynx and routine clinical practice in the regeneration of corneas. Future research priorities will focus on novel cell and bioprocess engineering techniques to improve manufacturing efficiency and methods for health technology assessment to support rapid clinical adoption of new cell therapies.

Figure: GMP manufacturing of an autologous (patient specific) cell therapy

  • Creation of ultra-scale down and microfluidic methods for early stage bioprocess development
  • Design of novel bioreactor and bioprocessing technologies
  • Study and optimisation of the impact of oxygen tension on stem cell culture
  • Decisional tools research to identify the most cost-effective manufacturing routes for cell therapies
  • Healthcare economics

Silva M, Daheron L, Hurley H, Bure K, Barker R, Carr AJ, Williams D, Kim HW, French A, Coffey PJ, Cooper-White JJ, Reeve B, Rao M, Snyder EY, Ng KS, Mead BE, Smith JA, Karp JM, Brindley DA, Wall I. (2015). Generating iPSCs: Translating Cell Reprogramming Science into Scalable and Robust Biomanufacturing Strategies. Cell Stem Cell, 16(1):13-7. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.12.013

Won JE, Yun YR, Jang JH, Yang SH, Kim JH, Chrzanowski W, Wall IB, Knowles JC, Kim HW. (2015) Multifunctional and stable bone mimic proteinaceous matrix for bone tissue engineering. Biomaterials, 56:46-57. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.03.022

Bain O, Detela G, Kim HW, Mason C, Mathur A, Wall IB. (2014). Altered hMSC functional characteristics in short-term culture and when placed in low oxygen environments: implications for cell retention at physiologic sites. Regen Med, 9(2):153-65. doi: 10.2217/rme.13.91

Simaria AS, Hassan S, Varadaraju H, Rowley J, Warren K, Vanek P, Farid SS. (2014) Allogeneic cell therapy bioprocess economics and optimization: single-use cell expansion technologies. Biotech Bioeng, 111(1) 69-83. doi: 10.1002/bit.25008

Guedes JC, Park JH, Lakhkar NJ, Kim HW, Knowles JC, Wall IB. (2013) TiO-doped phosphate glass microcarriers: A stable bioactive substrate for expansion of adherent mammalian cells. J Biomater Appl, 28(1), 3-11. doi: 10.1177/0885328212459093

Partington L, Mordan NJ, Mason C, Knowles JC, Kim HW, Lowdell MW, Birchall MA, Wall IB (2013). Biochemical changes caused by decellularization may compromise mechanical integrity of tracheal scaffolds. Acta Biomater, 9(2), 5251-5261. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2012.10.004

Badger JL, Byrne, ML, Veraitch, FS, Mason, C, Caldwell, MA Wall, IB (2012). Hypoxic culture of human pluripotent stem cell lines is permissible using mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Regenerative Medicine, 7(5), 675-683. doi: 10.2217/rme.12.55