SurModics deal results in novel synthetic ECM

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cell culture, Biology, Cell biology, Dna

Surmodics has announced that as a result of a collaboration with
the Donaldson Company, the first of a collection of new synthetic
nanofibrillar cell culture surfaces have been produced that will
improve cell culture, cell-based bioassays and other in vitro
(laboratory-based) cell-related applications used in drug

Research has suggested that this new product may also have important applications for use in basic research and cell-based high throughput screening (HTS) for the discovery and development of new drug compounds.

Using nano-scale structure and relevant surface chemistry, the new surface coated Ultra-Web Synthetic ECM products mimic cell growth conditions that more closely resemble those found in the body (in vivo).

The development of products of this kind is the result of the relationship the two companies announced in May 2005. The development and introduction of the first joint product is only eight months after the two companies entered into the development partnership.

"We have demonstrated that this new product provides enhancement in our cell culture research,"​ said Melvin Schindler, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University.

"For example, Sally Meiner's paper, which was published in the Journal of Biomedical Research in January 2006, reports the increase in neurite outgrowth for many types of primary neuronal cells using the Donaldson-SurModics product when compared to existing cell culture technologies."

"One could attach biologically active peptides to the nanofibrillar surface to elicit desirable cell behaviour and functions. We are exploring this new product as a platform to build cell culture "tool kits" to promote the appropriate biological response for various cell types,"​ he added.

Currently, researchers must choose between traditional 2-dimensional plastic or glass culture surfaces bearing no resemblance to in vivo conditions, or biologically derived matrices, which are expensive and inconsistent.

Ultra-Web Synthetic ECM is a 3-dimensional network of nanofibres formed by electrospinning a polymer solution onto glass or tissue culture grade plastic inserts.

The inserts come ready to use for cell culture and experiments that require visible light, fluorescence, or scanning probe microscopy. In addition, cell surfaces can be accessed using the patch clamping techniques of electrophysiology.

Ultra-Web nanofibres range in diameter from 100 to 400 nm, and there are no hydrogels to prepare, no pH balancing to perform, and no special storage requirements.

Because the materials employed in nanofibre production are synthetic, there are no contaminating biologicals, nor any batch-to-batch variation. The researcher can reproducibly perform experiments adding specific growth factors or purified ECM components.

Related topics: Preclinical Research, QA/QC

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