This chapter describes recent developments of natural and synthetic biomaterials to support the propagation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), while maintaining pluripotency in feeder-free cultures. hPSCs are differentiated into any kind of tissue cells in our body, which will be used as pharmaceuticals as cell therapy. The development of methods for culturing these cells without using mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) as a feeder layer will enable more reproducible culture conditions and reduce the risk of xenogenic contaminants when used in pharmaceuticals. The combination of human ECM proteins or cell adhesion molecules and synthetic biomaterials with well-designed surfaces and/or structures (e.g., scaffolds, hydrogels, microcarriers, microcapsules, or microfibers) in the presence of a chemically defined medium containing recombinant growth factors would offer a xeno-free alternative to feeder cells for culturing hPSCs and maintaining their pluripotency.
- Cell culture
- Embryonic stem cells
- Extracellular matrix
- Induced pluripotent stem cells