3D Cell Culture of Osteocytes on the International Space Station using Reinnervate’s Alvetex®Scaffold System
31 Jul 2013

3D cell culture company Reinnervate Ltd today announced that its Alvetex®Scaffold system has been chosen by a group at Massachusetts General Hospital for the first ever 3D osteocytic cell culture experiments in microgravity.

Assistant Prof. of Medicine Paola Divieti Pajevic’s group has been successfully using Alvetex®Scaffold to culture murine osteocytes in 3D to better mimic in-vivo growth conditions. Their long term aim is to understand the mechanisms of bone loss during unloading as occurs during prolonged bed rest, microgravity, or in diseases such as osteoporosis. The group has received funding from NIH and NASA to perform an experiment on the International Space Station in late 2014. This will expand their ongoing studies into the effects of bone loss during space flight. The group will culture osteocytes in bioreactors that will automate the process of feeding the cells during the ISS mission. This automatic system was specially designed by their implementation partners, CALM Technologies Inc.

“We are absolutely delighted that Alvetex Scaffold has been chosen for such an important and high profile project‟ said Prof. Stefan Przyborski, CSO and founder of Reinnervate. “3D cell culture is increasingly proving its worth in a wide variety of academic research areas. The ability to re-create more natural cellular structure, organisation and function in vitro is critical to advancing our understanding of basic cellular biology‟ he added.

Richard Rowling, commercial Director at Reinnervate added, “Dr. Divieti Pajevic’s group looked at many different systems for 3D cell culture, but ultimately needed a simple product that is compatible with histology, to visualise cell structure and reliable recovery of total RNA to study gene expression profiles. Alvetex Scaffold was one of the few commercially available products that met all these criteria. We are really pleased that Alvetex®Scaffold is being used in such a fascinating project‟.

Dr. Divieti-Pajevic’s group will continue to run experiments with Alvetex®Scaffold at her laboratory in the Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital in the run up to the 2014 NASA mission. These experiments act as a control for normal gravitational conditions but also use the NASA developed rotating systems that aim to mimic micro-gravity. However, the go-ahead to run these studies on the ISS now offers the only real way to test their hypotheses.

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