Process parameters for the high-scale production of alginate-encapsulated stem cells for storage and distribution throughout the cell therapy supply chain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


With the ever-increasing clinical application of cell-based therapies, it is considered critical to develop systems that facilitate the storage and distribution of cell therapy products (CTPs) between sites of manufacture and the clinic. For such systems to be realized, it is essential that downstream bioprocessing strategies be established that are scalable, reproducible and do not influence the viability or function of the living biologic. To this end, we examined alginate-encapsulation as a method to heighten the preservation of human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs) during hypothermic storage, and establish a scalable process for high-volume production. A drop-wise method for scalable alginate bead generation, using calcium as the cross-linker, was modified to enable the yield of up to 3500 gelled beads per minute. The effect of alginate concentration on the viscosity of non-gelled sodium alginate and the mechanical properties and internal structure of calcium-crosslinked alginate in response to different alginate and calcium concentrations were investigated. Mechanical strength was chiefly dependent on alginate concentration and 1.2% alginate cross-linked with 100 mM calcium chloride could withstand stress in the order of 35 kPa. Upon selection of appropriate parameters, we demonstrated the suitability of using this method for immobilizing human stem cells. Encapsulated hASCs demonstrated no loss in cell viability, and had a uniform distribution after high-volume production. Following storage, released cells were able to attach and recover a normal morphology upon return to culture conditions. Thus we present a scalable method for stem cell encapsulation and storage for application within the cell therapy supply chain.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-296
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue numberPart B
Early online date7 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Alginate, Stem cell bioprocessing, Biological preservation, Cell therapy, Mesenchymal stem cell